Need to beef up the industry

Need to beef up the industry

A significant array of statistics have come forward from the 2021 calendar beef selling season, which was the lowest in export sale for 36 years.

Sale figures came in well short of 900,000 tonnes, down 150,000 tonnes or 15 per cent less than the previous year, which in itself was well below the year prior.

For two years in a row - 2018 and 2019 - when the country was in the grip of drought, export sales exceeded 1.25 million tonnes in successive years.

With the drought in Eastern Australia almost beaten, graziers are opting to re-build their herd or increase the weight of each carcase.

Our beef exports were certainly hampered by the herd rebuild, but some of our political decisions were probably not helpful.

This is causing the gap in the supply chain leading to the reduced tonnage.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) envisage that tonnages should return to somewhere near normal in the later half of 2023, but further predictions are due in the near future as the MLA endeavours to plot our pathway to the beef trade in the coming years.

Our beef exports were certainly hampered by the herd rebuild, but some of our political decisions were probably not helpful.

Even in our present decline, Japan has remained our most lucrative market by both yardsticks of volume and value.

That country took 233,818 tonnes of our chilled and frozen product, down to their lowest levels since the early 1990s.

South Korea remained a solid and reliable customer, taking 165,053 tonnes, a slight improvement on the previous year.

We witnessed a dramatic reduction in sales to the United States because of our inability to supply beef (due to the herd rebuild) for their huge hamburger trade.

Our sales to the USA stood at 145,260 tonnes, down 31 per cent year-on-year and about half our sales compared to a few years earlier.

Trade to China was 148,357, down 51 per cent when compared with 2019. Our problems with China appear to be ongoing with no satisfactory solution in sight.

Sheep and cattle sales for the week commencing January 17 have all shown increased numbers and it would appear better processor involvement.

Feed lotters, backgrounders and restockers are all starting to make their presence felt.

The first store cattle sale for Dubbo is scheduled for Friday, February 4, commencing at 11am. Entries are now being received.