'Fast facts' add up to good news story for red meat

'Fast facts' add up to good news story for red meat

Sheepmeat
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Red meat in strong, and growing, demand

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THE latest beef and sheepmeat industry 'fast facts' released by big service provider Meat & Livestock Australia paint the picture of a product in very strong - and growing - demand across the globe.

On the beef front, Australia has just two per cent of the world's cattle herd but is the second largest beef exporter, behind Brazil.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resources and Economics data shows the gross value of Australian cattle and calf production in the past financial year was $151 billion.

Cattle are estimated to have contributed to 23pc of the country's total farm value of $66.5b in that time.

There are 45,712 agricultural businesses involved in the cattle game and around 189,000 people employed in the red meat industry, including on-farm production, processing and retail.

Beef's off-farm meat value, which includes domestic expenditure plus exports and live cattle shipments, was $20.2 billion in 2019, up 3 per cent on the previous year.

MLA managing director Jason Strong said the future for the industry was an incredibly positive one.

"At home, our beef is regularly consumed in 95 per cent of households, and our lamb in 76pc - from a special occasion to a mid-week bolognese, we are very proud that eating red meat is a staple in our society," he said.

"Our consumers want natural and nutritious food, and care more than ever about how it's produced. Our reputation in this regard is unrivaled and we should be confident in sharing our collective story."

When it comes to mutton and lamb, Australia is the largest sheepmeat exporter in the world with the top three destinations being China, the US, and UAE.

The gross value of Australian lamb and mutton production for 2019-20, including exports, was $5.3 billion

Lamb and mutton production, including live exports, contributed 8pc to the total farm value of $66.5 billion estimated in 2019-20.

Domestically, Australia continues to be one of the largest per capita consumers of sheepmeat in the world, consuming about 6.8kg pf sheepmeat per person, per year.

The increased interest from export markets for quality sheepmeat and an enhanced appetite from consumers towards lamb has resulted in almost all of Australia's mutton being exported.

The export figures are also promising with the value of Australian sheepmeat exports in 2019 $4.1 billion, up 14pc from the previous year.

On-farm, there are 17,700 Australian farms producing at least 200 lambs for slaughter with the majority of Australia's sheep production located in NSW at 34pc, WA with 22pc, Victoria follows closely behind with 21pc and SA produces 16pc.

Tasmania and Queensland account for the remaining 4pc and 3pc respectively.

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