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Australian Herd Rebuilding Effort Progressing Well

10 September 2012

AUSTRALIA - The outlook for the Australian beef industry remains in solid shape. The wettest two years on record have generally supported the herd rebuilding effort which has progressed faster than expected while exporters have seen a sizeable boost to incomes, with the emergence of new markets and the impact of dwindling cattle herds in key exporters, according to NAB Rural Commodities Wrap.

The expansion of the Australian cattle herd continues unabated. According to recent MLA estimates, the Australian cattle herd is estimated to have reached 29.6 million head at the end of June 2012, up 3.8 per cent on a year earlier – the largest Australian cattle herd since 1977.

Looking ahead, ongoing expansion of the Australian cattle herd is likely. Solid conditions have allowed producers to retain cattle and the proportion of female cattle slaughtered remains very low, hence indicative of further herd rebuilding. As such, the Australian cattle herd is forecast to increase a further 3 per cent by June 2013. Growth should begin to taper off, with the Australian cattle herd reaching 31.5 million head by June 2016.

With the herd rebuilding effort very much underway, cattle slaughterings have been fairly subdued with total cattle slaughtered down 2.5 per cent in 2011-12. However, favourable seasonal conditions, which have allowed producers to hold on to cattle for longer, have supported carcase weights. This has helped soften the decline in beef production, which was down only 0.8 per cent in 2011-12. Looking ahead, Australian beef production is likely to lift as the impact of a large Australian herd materialises into higher beef production. Reflecting this, recent MLA forecasts point to Australian beef production increasing 2.5 per cent in 2012 and a further 3.3 per cent in 2013.

Further Reading

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