Red meat production has increased by a staggering 10 per cent for the March quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In addition, Australian beef exports for March increased 25 per cent in a year, reaching its highest levels since 2020.

With the agriculture industry in Australia set to reach a value of $90 billion in 2022-23, meat consumption is expected to grow further.

According to data from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), in comparison, beef production in the United States has begun to decline, with Brazilian exporters facing struggles with shipping to market,  with exports 12 percent below the 2022 figures.

“High demand in overseas markets, alongside a complex supply picture in other exporting regions, has given Australian exporters solid export conditions as production continues to rise,” a spokesperson for the MLA said on the website.

Australia’s main competitor in the meat industry, the United States, has seen production levels begin to fall over the last year. However, Australian exports to the US in the first quarter are up 41 per cent year on year.

Meat production globally has almost tripled in 50 years, with Australia’s production increasing from 355,000 tonnes in 1973 to 498,000 tonnes in 2023. As Australian beef production grows, decreasing US meat production will leave opportunities for Australian exporters in Japan and South Korea, according to MLA.


Australian Beef Exports – interactive graph (by tonne)



According to the ABS, the March 2023 quarter saw a production of 498 314 tonnes of livestock products across all states and territories.

Queensland produced 50 per cent of this figure with 240 756 tonnes of meat, while New South Wales produced just 107 566 tonnes alone. Despite the ACT and NT having just under 400 agriculture businesses combined, they have produced zero tonnes of livestock products to date.



Australia is home to 87 402 agriculture businesses spread over 387 million hectares with majority of shareholdings produced from livestock farming and exports.



The Australian agriculture industry exports 72 per cent of its livestock products overseas, mostly to China, Japan, United States and South Korea.

In 2022, Queensland exported 256,000 tonnes of beef internationally, a decrease from 2021 of 268,000 tonnes. In total, Australia exported 1.4 million tonnes of red meat, a decline of 10.4 percent from 2020 levels. Beef and veal exports declined a staggering 14.6 percent from 2020. 

There are plans for an annual update of the Australian beef sustainability Framework (ABSF) to be released on June 8, entailing data under themes of Best Animal Care, Environmental Stewardship, Economic Resilience and People and Community.

 Meat & Livestock Australia John Mckillop, Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council, believes it to be an important development towards expanding Australia’s international markets and can see those figures of Australian red meat exports doubling in the value by 2030. 

Contributor: Tobias Kruys