Global Agriculture

Australia’s July live cattle exports near two-year high

16 August 2023, AU: Australian live cattle exports in July reached their highest volume since August 2021, as cattle herd numbers rebound owing to three consecutive years of high rainfall.

Australian live cattle exports totalled 68,954 head in July, up from 52,043 head the previous month according to data from the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). This marked the highest volume exported since August 2021, when volumes were at 72,774 head.

Live exports to Indonesia in July increased by 4,261 head from the previous month. But volumes will likely decline in August after Indonesia suspended live cattle imports from four Australian export yards on 28 July, after detecting lumpy skin disease (LSD) in Australian-origin cattle three weeks after they arrived in Indonesia. Australian cattle exports to Indonesia from non-suspended yards have continued. Australia is working through biosecurity protocol to prove that Australia is LSD free.

Malaysia subsequently followed suit and temporarily banned imports of all live cattle and buffalo from Australia because of concerns over LSD, Australia’s DAFF said on 9 August. But Malaysia accounted for less than 1pc of Australia’s live cattle exports in July at only 32 head.

Exports to Vietnam reached 20,668 head in July, also the highest volume since August 2021 when volumes were at 22,302 head, according to DAFF. Higher demand from Vietnam can be partly attributed to lower Australian cattle prices, exporters said, but added that export volumes are unlikely to return to volumes seen in 2020 and 2021 until next year. Vietnam’s beef consumption will likely increase in the winter months of December to February as demand for hotpot meals rises.

The growth of the Australian national cattle herd is on track to increase throughout this year, resulting in a high supply of young cattle and cattle that are ready for slaughter in 2024, according to the latest Cattle Industry Projections update from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). MLA also expects the national cattle herd to reach 28.7mn head this year, and mark its highest level since 2014.

By Jessica Clarke

Australian live cattle exports (head)
Jan-Jul 23199,33965,48545,319359,031
Jan-Jul 22181,85434,00479,131324,337
Jan-Jul 21261,500124,84758,348506,820
Jan-Jul 20295,082183,84171,586657,918
Totals include all destinations not just those listed
Source: DAFF

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