February 8, 2022
Australia MLA

Meat marketing body Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) says that the rebuild of the national cattle herd will continue this year and is projected to grow by 1.1 million, or about 4%, to reach 27.2 million head this year. However, the pace will vary across different states, underpinned by a third year of favourable seasonal conditions in some parts of the country.

Above average rainfall is expected across New South Wales and areas of Queensland, that will help with the rebuild according to the first cattle industry projection for 2022, released recently. The extra numbers are needed as slaughter numbers are forecast to rise by 11% in 2022, mainly driven by increased supply.

Cattle numbers in southern states benefit most

MLA’s market information manager, Stephen Bignell, said: “Herds in the southern states of New South Wales and Victoria will mature favourably, with large numbers of high-quality young breeding females and heifers delivering a large cohort of calves in spring. Females will be well nourished from abundant and good quality pastures promoting favourable growing conditions.”

More detail from the MLA on 2022 cattle projections.

While southern states will benefit from the weather patterns, those in the north will also develop, but at a slower pace. Bignell added: “While Queensland’s rebuild has been aided by excellent spring and summer rainfall events in central and southern parts of the state, the northern pastoral system requires a positive end to the 2022 wet season.”

Production and post-pandemic demand on the increase

Production volumes are expected to top two million tonnes, a positive sign for exports after a challenging 2021. The MLA also believes that Australian beef will also seen significant advantages from the high-value export market created when the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement comes into effect later this year.

Bignell said: “As many countries continue to recover from the pandemic, demand for Australian beef is expected to grow in line with improving supply of cattle from the second half of 2022. However, headwinds remain for the industry, including transportation, staff shortages and the potential for the Australian dollar to appreciate.”

Despite these challenges, the beef industry is experiencing buoyant market conditions and renewed confidence. The MLA believes that the industry is “in an incredibly positive position” capable of expanding exports to both emerging and established global markets.

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