Australia’s beef and veal exports plummeted to a 19-year low in 2022 as farmers rebuilt their livestock after years of stormy weather, inflationary pressures and labor shortages.
Total beef exports in 2022 stood at 854,592 tons. This is the lowest level since 2003, when exports to Asian markets plummeted due to mad cow disease.
Australia’s Department of Agriculture expects beef exports in 2022-2023 to drop below 2021-2022 by 5% due to higher livestock prices, wet conditions and labor shortages limiting processing plant capacity. However, Angus Gidley-Baird, an animal protein analyst at Rabobank, said projections showed beef exports could rise significantly in the second half of 2023.
Gidley-Baird added that increased international competition, especially from the United States, likely contributed to the decline in exports to markets such as Japan, where exports fell by 8.3%. This may be due to the higher price of Australian beef compared to US beef.
But he said the higher price point, which reflects higher quality, is booming in some markets.
Beef exports to China, where the cuts are estimated to be more expensive, increased by 7%.