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Major Commodities - Beef


A dominant player on world markets, Australian beef producers are positive about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

The steady rise in demand for safe and high-quality beef, combined with Australia's focus on meeting consumer needs, has served the sector well at home and overseas.

A relatively small global player in terms of cattle numbers, Australia is a world leader in terms of the value of the beef it exports - outranking its competitors.

It is that quality differentiation, both in terms of supplying a safe and delicious product, as well as the range of quality assurance measures, which ensure Australia will remain a leading light in the global beef trade.

Australian beef: fast facts

  • There are 43,763 farms in Australia producing beef cattle, with a national herd of 26.6 million head.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricutural Commodities 2009-10, Catalogue No. 7121.0

  • The beef industry accounts for 50 percent of all farms with agricultural activity.
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2010: Australia's Beef Industry

  • In total, Australian beef cattle farmers produce 2.1 million tonnes of beef and veal each year.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics, 2011

  • The Australian beef industry (including live cattle) contributes 17 percent to total Australian farm exports.
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2010: Australia's Beef Industry

  • The gross value of Australian cattle and calf production in 2009-10 was $7.27 billion.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, 2009-10, Catalogue No. 7503.0

  • Australians eat an average 33kg of beef and veal per person, per year. This has remained relatively constant for the last 15 years.
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2011: Australia's Beef Industry

  • Over the last recorded 12 months, Australians spent $6.7 billion on beef. In terms of volume, beef is the second most popular fresh meat consumed through the food service industry (after chicken).
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2011: Australia's Beef Industry

  • The consumption of beef accounts for 24.7 percent of world meat consumption.
  • Barnard, P. Meat - Prospects for Products and Markets, Meat & Livestock Australia 2006.

  • Australia exported 937,301 tonnes of beef and veal in 2010-11, worth $4.5 billion. The major export markets for beef and veal are Japan (37 percent), the United States (17 percent) and Korea (15 percent).
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2011: Australia's Beef Industry

  • Australia is a small producer of beef, but is the second largest beef exporter (behind Brazil).
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2010: Australia's Beef Industry

For more, view NFF Farm Facts 2012.

Further information

< Major Commodities