Trouble in Australia equals opportunity for U.S. beef

Beef exports to Japan and South Korea are likely to increase.


Scott Brown, BEEF Magazine 

Sep 09, 2019


Brown is a livestock economist with the University of Missouri.


A smaller beef production base in Australia coupled with recent developments in trade patterns and policy will result in more opportunities for U.S. beef exports in the next couple of years.


Australia is the main competitor in the top two export markets for U.S. beef, Japan and South Korea. The country is one of the top two suppliers of U.S. beef imports along with Canada. But while U.S. cow numbers are at or near a cyclical peak, a lack of adequate moisture in much of Australia has led to herd liquidation in the past year.


Cattle numbers


Meat & Livestock Australia reports in its August update of industry projections that Australia’s cattle inventory as of June 30 declined an estimated 7.3% relative to the previous year. They project beef production will drop by 11% in 2020, with beef exports down about 550 million pounds (15%).


The most recent quarterly outlook from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences in June projects a similar situation in the year to come, with beef production from July 2019 to June 2020 down 12.4% from the previous year and beef exports dropping by more than 17%. The reduced supply leads to a projected increase in the cattle sale yard price of 3.4%.


Export market shake-up ...


more, including table, chart