Meat and Livestock Australia (ALM) has predicted that Australia’s cattle herd will reach its highest level since 2014, reflecting the industry’s current confidence levels. Despite several natural disasters that have affected many parts of the country, the ALM anticipates that the cattle herd will grow to 28.8 million head, with the strong supply of cattle expected to continue for another two years despite seasonal conditions. The ALM has also indicated that the cattle herd will continue to increase until 2024, with the national herd expected to hit 29.6 million by 2025, the highest level since the 1970s.
The latest figures from ALM reveal that Australia’s red meat exports totalled 126,445t in April 2023, which is 17% higher than levels a year ago, and beef exports were 17% higher than April last year at 72,064t. The Chair of Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Fianna Fáil TD, Jackie Cahill, told Agriland that he does not believe that the growth in Australian exports will have an impact on Irish producers. He said that “products coming into the European Union (EU) have to be structured to the same standard as the produce made by EU farmers. Standard EU production cannot be undermined by products coming in from other countries that may not have the same level of controls over animal welfare and climate control.” Deputy Cahill also does not believe that strong exports from Australia will affect the price, adding that “the world beef market is very strong due to production of beef dropping worldwide.”
ALM has reported that 2022 was a record-breaking year for lamb exports from Australia, with 284,257t exported. The latest figures suggest that lamb exports are outperforming 2022 volumes, with exports growing 6% in 2023. China, South Korea, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are recording substantial export growth, while exports to the US have softened against domestic economic pressures. Deputy Cahill emphasised that it is crucial that there is a level playing field for all producers and that they meet the same welfare standards and climate conditions as the EU.
The Australian beef and lamb industry has been booming, with the industry showing strong resilience despite the challenges posed by natural disasters. The Australian government has implemented measures to support the industry, including drought-relief packages and funding for research and development. The industry’s success is also due to its ability to meet the growing demand for high-quality meat products in international markets, particularly in Asia.
While Australia’s growing exports may not have a significant impact on Irish producers, there is a need for global standards to ensure that all producers meet the same welfare and climate conditions. The success of the Australian beef and lamb industry highlights the importance of investing in the agriculture sector and supporting farmers to meet the growing demand for high-quality meat products.