The U.S. ag attache in Australia predicts the country's 2012 beef production will be a new record of 2.2 million metric tons (MMT), slightly higher than the previous record set in 2006. The attache actually lowered its slaughter estimate, but raised its carcass weight estimate to come up with the larger production estimate.
Exports are also forecast to increase in 2012, although at a slower rate than production, says the attache. A higher Australian dollar value and increased competition in key export markets is expected to constrain exports to the third highest level on record, it says.
"Recent industry reports state that the fertility of the Australian herd has improved significantly and this, combined with increased cow numbers, has seen calf crop numbers improve sharply in CY 2011," says the attache. "In light of an improved calf crop, increased breading cow numbers and a relatively lower slaughter level, Post’s (attache) forecast for the CY2012 closing inventory was revised upwards to 30.0 million head, the highest level since 1976."