WA beef, veal exports boom
The value of WA’s beef and veal exports is booming on the back of strong demand from the US, Japan and China.
A snapshot of the cattle industry shows processed beef and veal exported from WA between July and February was valued at $118 million — almost 50 per cent higher than over the same period last financial year.
In contrast, the value of live exports dropped 16 per cent over the first nine months of 2014-15 to $117 million.
Department of Agriculture and Food WA research officer Kimbal Curtis said the latest data showed a combination of factors were working in fav-our of WA cattle producers and processors.
“I don’t like looking into crystal balls but prices are strong, demand in our near neighbours is strong and supply coming out of eastern Australia is going to be tempered by drought,” he said. “They have missed out on another wet season in Queensland and on top of that when the drought does break there will retention of numbers for herd rebuilding, so it is a good time for the industry in WA.”
WA appears to have maintained its cattle numbers at about 1.8 million head, which represents a small but important component of a national herd estimated at 27 million.
Agriculture Minister Ken Baston, who has been urging local producers to boost cattle and sheep numbers, welcomed the increase in the number of cattle being slaughtered in WA and higher prices for WA beef on overseas markets.
“We have witnessed rising values of exports to Japan, the Middle East and greater China, along with the recent but sharp rise in export value to the US,” he said.
The number of cattle processed in WA increased 3 per cent to 294,000 head over the nine months to the end of February. Live exports fell 22 per cent to 143,000 head but this was partly offset by high prices.
The percentage rise in the value of WA’s beef and veal exports in the first nine months of 2014-15
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