Australian beef producers remain competitive

A non-profit, non-political international benchmarking network called “agri benchmark” recently issued the 2013 beef and sheep report. The cattle and sheep network consists of members including agricultural economists, producers, etc from 29 countries. Led by Dr Claus Deblitz, the Report provides a comparative analysis of production and market situations in several key countries including Australia.  The Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) that contributes to the Report also issued a separate report entitled “Australian beef producers competitive despite challenges: 2013 agri benchmark results”.


The agri benchmarkreport suggests that beef prices are highest in China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and North Africa, followed by the European Union. Canadian and US-prices are at the lower end of the EU-prices. Lowest prices are still found in Mexico, South America, Australia (with the exception of the feedlot delivering oxen to the Japanese market) and South Africa. Growing demand especially in Asia and the Middle East and limited supply of beef has been seen as a major driver to price increases.

The MLA views that Australian beef producers are not as well-placed to take benefits from growing demand in the world beef market potentially as they were few years ago due to the latest drought.

MLA’s Chief Economist Tim McRae in his recent interview with the ABC, however, suggests that “Australia leads the world in labour productivity”.

Also faced by other exporting countries, the main challenge is to improve productivity. agri benchmark suggests that reducing the gap between high-performing and low-performing beef producers should be a priority. For Australia, the MLA particularly sees that improvement in reproductive rate and daily weight gains off pasture as one of the areas that Australia needs to work on.

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