In the year ending June 2018, Australian red meat, offal and livestock exports reached $13.78 billion.
This is up 13 per cent year-on-year and largely underpinned by an increase in cattle turn-off and higher smallstock prices, according to figures from Meat and Livestock Australia.
Beef export value didn’t surpass the drought years of 2014–2016, but it was the third highest financial year on record at $7.96b.
With lamb prices smashing records in recent months, lamb exports reached a record $2.27b, and mutton followed suit at $1.02b.
Combined sheep and beef offal exports broke records at $778 million, while live cattle and sheep exports accounted for significant portions, at $1.268m and $259m respectively.
Japan, the US, Korea and China continued to underpin the value of beef exports, with the four largest markets accounting for 75 per cent of export value.
Similarly, the Middle East and North Africa, the US and China accounted for 66 per cent of sheep meat export value.
Live cattle exports remain focused on Southeast Asia, reflecting the level of development across key markets and proximity to northern Australia, while sheep exports remain concentrated in the Middle East and North Africa, underpinned by demand for religious slaughter.
National cattle slaughter has increased, due to challenging drought conditions.
National cattle slaughter for July totalled just over 712,000 head, bringing the year-to-date total to 4.5 million head, up 21 per cent year-on-year.
Female slaughter has continued to be a driving force in this increase, making up 54 per cent of the national kill in July, up five percentage points on July 2017.
The 12-month rolling average for July was 48 per cent.
Typically, the Australian cattle herd is considered to be in a contraction phase when the proportion of female slaughter exceeds 47 per cent of total slaughter over a 12-month rolling average.