Beef production falls to 4-year low, other proteins register growth

15 September 2016

Recently released beef production data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reflects the tight pool of available cattle across Australia. July beef production was 157,000 tonnes cwt, the lowest volume for that month over the past two decades (albeit 2011 was close at 161,000 tonnes cwt), taking the calendar year-to-date total to 1.25 million tonnes cwt – the lowest since 2012.

Rising carcase weights partly offset the decline, averaging 286kg/head so far this year – up 8kg year-on-year – but the shortage of slaughter cattle underpinned the fall in production.

In July, cattle slaughter in:

  • Queensland was 269,000 head, back 35% year-on-year
  • NSW was 118,000 head, back 36%
  • Victoria was 94,000 head, back 34%
  • SA was 24,000 head, back 41%
  • WA was 28,000 head, back 20%
  • Tasmania was almost 15,000 head, back 38%

As highlighted in this week’s slaughter report, the eastern states cattle kill has continued to track well below year-ago levels in August and into September. Beef production in these months will consequently follow suit.

Chicken and pork register growth

Meanwhile, other livestock protein production has been increasing. For the first time on record, quarterly chicken production exceeded 300,000 tonnes cwt in the three months ending June. In addition, 2015-16 fiscal year chicken production reached an unprecedented 1.15 million tonnes cwt – up 3% on the previous year (ABS).

Furthermore, pork supplies have been growing, with production for the 2015-16 fiscal year up 2%, at almost 378,000 tonnes cwt, and imports over the same period up 2%, at a record high 159,000 tonnes swt.

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