The Chief Commodity Forecaster for Australia recently raised the country’s expected 2018/19 beef exports by almost 4 percent, from 1.11 million tonnes to an anticipated 1.15 million tonnes. According to the Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics, and Rural Sciences (ABARES), extreme drought in the eastern part of the country has damaged grazing fields, with some areas receiving 20 percent less precipitation than normal for this time of year. In response to the poor pasture conditions, farmers have sent more cattle to slaughter. Around 617,000 head of cattle were slaughtered in April, representing a 26 percent increase for the month year-on-year. The Bureau expects the increased exports to head to China and Japan, with whom Australia has amicable trade agreements.
Although exports are expected to rise this year, they are still well below peak 2014 volume. The same trend occurred that year, with weather influencing cattle slaughter, and the country’s herd size and exports suffered in the following years as a result. Even though 2018/19 exports are increasing, it may take several more years for Australia’s beef exports to reach 2014 levels again. Gro Intelligence subscribers can access global weather, trade, and production data and benefit from staying current with market trends.