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Grainfed Beef Exports to EU at Record Levels

15 January 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - Australian red meat exports to the EU reached their highest level since 1999 in 2012, totalling 31,365 tonnes, a five per cent increase on 2011 according to Meat and Livestock Australia.

Driving the growth in shipments of Australian red meat to the EU has been an increase in beef exports, largely a result of increased usage of the recently expanded EU grainfed beef quota.

The expansion in exports to the EU, despite the delicate economic situation in the region and the strong Australian dollar, illustrate the continued importance of the EU as a high value market for Australian red meat.

Beef exports totalled 14,949 tonnes swt in 2012, their highest level since 1998.

This was a 16 per cent increase on 2011, and well above the five year average of 9,972 tonnes. The growth and simplification of the EU grainfed beef quota throughout 2012 also benefited volumes shipped to the EU.

The quota increased from 20,000 tonnes to 48,200 tonnes in mid-2012, and its administration was greatly simplified, providing improved opportunity for Australian beef exports. As a result, Australian grainfed shipments to the EU grew 48 per cent when compared to 2011, totalling 6,263 tonnes.

Importantly, grassfed volumes did not suffer as a result of greater grainfed shipments, with exports up 1 per cent, totalling 8,686 tonnes swt.

Sheepmeat exports conversely slowed throughout 2012, with total volumes shipped down by four per cent on 2011, to 15,851 tonnes. Lamb exports fell by six per cent, to 12,128 tonnes, while mutton shipments increased by five per cent, to 3,723 tonnes swt.

The tough economic environment within the EU, particularly the UK, Australia’s largest market for sheep meat within the EU, impacted on Australian exports, as consumers continued to look for cheaper protein options.

Overall UK sheep meat imports in 2012 (January to October) were down nine per cent, totalling 61,919 tonnes, with imports from both Australian and New Zealand back, 23 per cent and five per cent respectively - illustrating to the tough climate for imported sheepmeat in the UK throughout 2012.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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