Red meat industry share of Australian exports increases

20 August 2015

The total value of exports from the red meat industry (cattle, sheep and goat) increased significantly in 2014-15, on the back of record cattle turnoff (slaughter and live export) and lamb slaughter. Total export value was just over $16 billion, up 28% year-on-year (Australian Bureau of Statistics).



More interestingly, as illustrated in Figure 1, the red meat industry export share of total Australian goods exported also increased, from 4.58% in 2013-14 to 6.25% in 2014-15, accentuated by mining commodity prices falling throughout the year – the RBA bulk commodity (iron ore and coal) index averaged 27% lower year-on-year in 2014-15.

Key highlights from 2014-15:

  • Beef exports were the primary driver of total export value, increasing 41% year-on-year to a record $9.05 billion
  • Sheepmeat export value also increased, up 13%, to almost $2.61 billion
  • Live cattle export value increased 29% year-on-year, to $1.35 billion
  • Tallow export value declined 6%, to $373 million, as export prices came back
  • Despite subdued hide prices, hide export value increased 6%, to $632 million – a result of high cattle slaughter
  • Soft sheep skin demand from China saw prices fall and this was reflected in the value of sheep skin exports, back 11%, at $377 million
  • Beef offal value increased 22%, to $626 million

While Australia has through a period of record cattle turnoff and lamb slaughter over the last twelve months, export values were also supported by a falling A$ and strong demand for red meat protein overseas.

The full breakdown of industry exports is summarised in the table below.


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