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Australian Beef Production Hits Record High

18 February 2014
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - During 2013, total Australian beef and veal production reached 2.4 million tonnes cwt, up 10 per cent on the previous year and 11 per cent on the five-year average – the largest annual volume of beef produced on record according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Meat and Livestock Australia said that according to the ABS, all states recorded increases in production for the year, with Queensland contributing most to the gains, up five per cent year-on-year, at 1.1 million tonnes cwt. Production across NSW was 12 per cent greater on 2012, totalling 521,009 tonnes cwt, while Victoria (417,415 tonnes cwt) and SA (115,240 tonnes cwt) produced 21 per cent and 5 per cent more beef, respectively, compared with 2012.

Aggregate production in WA (105,805 tonnes cwt) increased 7 per cent, while Tasmania (62,109 tonnes cwt) recorded a 13 per cent rise over the same period.

Driving the growth in production levels was the drought-induced surge in slaughter rates, with total Australian adult cattle kills reaching a record 8.3 million head for 2013, up 13 per cent year-on-year and 11 per cent compared with the five-year average.

Numbers in Queensland (3.9 million head) contributed the most, 10 per cent higher on 2012, while NSW (1.8 million head) and Victoria (1.6 million head) recorded 16 per cent and 23 per cent more cattle slaughtered.

Underpinning greater national slaughter levels was the rise in female cattle, with aggregate kills reaching 3.9 million head, up 23 per cent from the previous year and 14 per cent on the five-year average.

Similarly, male slaughter levels were also higher, totalling 4.4 million head, up 6 per cent year-on-year and 9 per cent on the five-year comparison.

With production and slaughter rates at considerable highs during 2013, subsequent adult cattle carcase weights reduced three per cent on a year ago, to average 278kg/head for 2013, underpinned by large percentages of lightweight, plain conditioned cattle being sent direct-to-works.

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