For the 12 months to 30 June 2019, Australian beef exports increased 7% year-on-year, while lamb and mutton rose 2% and 17% respectively. The only area of decline was goat that saw a 27% decline due to supply issues.
According to Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), export values also benefitted from an Australian dollar trading near a ten-year low and drought in key regions elevating sheep and cattle slaughter.
In the MLA report, it revealed that there has been a “profound shift in global beef shipments to Asia, particularly China, in the last two years”. On the beef side, it said that forces driving this beef trade expansion, including growing supply bases, market access changes, currency movements, a strong global economy, shifting diets in Asia and the onset of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China.
The MLA research found that the top-10 largest exporters sold 6.74m tonnes swt of beef onto the global market over the last twelve months – an extra 400,000 tonnes swt, or 6%, compared to a year earlier and 840,000 tonnes swt compared to two years ago.
Australian sheepmeat exports had their strongest financial year on record, with lamb shipments (275,000 tonnes swt) hitting an unprecedented volumes and mutton (188,000 tonnes swt) rising to near-record levels.
The report does explain that this growth is not sustainable. Widespread drought and elevated slaughter was the primary driver of increased shipments however weekly lamb and sheep slaughter tracked below year-ago levels in June and lamb and mutton exports finished the month 20% and 17% lower year-on-year respectively. Supply is expected to remain tight throughout winter and into early spring, lamb and mutton prices have gone through the roof however the supply might not be there.