Australian red meat industry delivers another record production year for beef and lamb: ABS

Olivia FordCountryman
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported another record year for beef and sheep production in 2023.
Camera IconThe Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported another record year for beef and sheep production in 2023. Credit: Daniel Carson/TheWest

The Australian red meat industry has delivered another record production year for beef and lamb, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In its most recent quarterly statistics, ABS reported Australia produced another record 246,003 tonnes of lamb in 2023, a 12.05 per cent increase from 2022.

ABS also reported more than 6.5 million lambs slaughtered in the last quarter of 2023, marking the largest recorded lamb slaughter.

MLA market information manager Stephen Bignell said as predicted last year, the significant flock rebuild led to lamb production to hit another record.

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“The biggest sheep flock for 15 years, including the greatest number of ewes and biggest number of lambs, has resulted in these record slaughter and production rates yet again this year,” he said.

“Despite anxieties into the capacity of processing facilities to cope with the backlog of lambs, these figures indicate that they were able to cope with the numbers supplied.

“This resulted in strong exports as well as plenty of lamb being available domestically, which was enjoyed by many Australians over the summer.”

Mr Bignell said lamb carcase weights were down 3.64 per cent to 24.09kg, which was close to the ideal carcase weight of 24kg for Australian domestically consumed lamb.

Sheep and mutton also performed well, with a 43 per cent increase in mutton production to 246,003 tonnes, marking the largest calendar year for production of the meat since 2006.

Year 2023 was not just a big 12 months for sheep and lamb meat, it was a large production year for beef as well.

Cattle slaughter tipped seven million head in 2023, a 20 per cent increase from 2022.

Beef production was up 18 per cent year-on-year to 2,210,954 tonnes.

Mr Bignell said this was because of a large national herd and processors handling the increase.

“The last quarter also showed a female slaughter ratio (FSR) of 46.87 per cent, bringing the annual FSR average to 46.58 per cent,” he said.

“A FSR rate of below 47 per cent indicates that the Australian cattle herd is in a marginal growth phase following two consecutive destocking periods as shown in the middle of 2022.”

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