Australian Beef Exports May Be Record on Drought, U.S. Says

US - Beef exports from Australia, the world's second-largest shipper of the meat, may reach a record because of higher production and as ranchers kill more animals
calendar icon 28 February 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
Exports may reach 1.5 million tons carcass weight equivalent this year from 1.425 million tons last year, a U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service attaché said in a report released yesterday. Carcass weight equivalent indicates the weight of beef when hanging in an abattoir.

``The forecast for record high exports is underpinned by historically high production and slaughter due to extreme drought,'' Mike Darby, the Canberra-based agricultural specialist wrote in the report. ``Above average rainfall, if received, would likely see this figure revised downwards in line with revised levels of production.''

Cattle prices in Australia rose 24 percent last year as an El Nino driven drought forced farmers to slaughter animals they couldn't feed. The nation may kill 9.4 million beasts this year, the highest in 25 years, the report said.

``The outlook for pasture conditions is described as `difficult' in the short term, with significant improvements not expected until the second half of 2007,'' the report said. ``Slaughter figures are expected to remain relatively high in the first half of 2007 before falling significantly in the second half.''

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