As the world's largest sheepmeat and goatmeat exporter, and third largest beef exporter behind Brazil and India, Australia consistently exports more than 65 per cent of its red meat production to overseas markets.
That's according to the Australian red meat and livestock industry State of the Industry Report 2019, launched by the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC).
The report, compiled by Meat & Livestock Australia on behalf of the red meat industry, provides an overview of Australia's red meat and livestock industry, including figures on production, consumption, exports, and the economic significance of the industry.
MLA Managing Director, Jason Strong, said the report highlighted that while Australia is a relatively small producer of red meat, it plays a big role in global export markets.
"Continued diversification of export destinations has allowed Australia to maximise returns and help mitigate exposure to market and trade risks," Mr Strong said.
"Australia exported 65pc of beef, 73pc of sheepmeat and 90pc of goatmeat production in 2018, valued at more than $13.5 billion. This makes Australia the world's largest red meat exporter by value.
"Australia is also a major player in the livestock export trade, exporting 1.1 million cattle and 1.2 million sheep, worth a combined $1.5 billion in 2018.
"Red meat and livestock exports totalled approximately $15 billion in 2017-18, down 13pc year-on-year, but approximately 59pc above 2012-13 levels."
RMAC Chief Executive Officer, Anna Campbell, said the report was an important tool for highlighting key flashpoint areas for the attention of industry and policy makers, including market access to the European Union, the rise of alternative proteins and the impact of natural disasters.
"Improving trade access into emerging and currently restricted markets is critical for the ongoing competitiveness and prosperity of the Australian red meat and livestock industry," Ms Campbell said.
"The industry is operating in an environment where total world meat consumption continues to increase.
"Over the last two decades, total global consumption has increased by 64pc at an average rate of 2pc per year for sheepmeat and 1pc for beef.
"Domestically, Australia is one of the world's largest per capita consumers of beef and sheepmeat. In 2018, we consumed three and five times the global consumption averages for beef and sheepmeat respectively."
Ms Campbell said the report shows that despite ongoing challenging seasonal conditions experienced by the industry, the number of red meat and livestock businesses remained relatively stable at 80,300.
"The number of businesses within the red meat and livestock industry has remained relatively constant over recent years, with a growth of 4.6pc between 2012-13 and 2017-18," Ms Campbell said.
"The relatively small increase in number of businesses contrasts with larger increases in turnover of 31pc and industry value add of 67pc."
To read the full report, click here.