The meat industry earned $10.8 billion in export revenue during the 2022-23 financial year, to which beef contributed 43%, sheepmeat 37% and the so-called “fifth quarter” 20%.
The fifth quarter is all parts of the animal that are not meat; that revenue grew by 8%.
Industry revenue fell by 1% from the prior year to June 30, 2022, according to the Meat Industry Association (MIA) annual report, published during September.
North Asian markets generated just under half of the export revenue, at $5.3bn – half of it from beef. China accounted for $4.23bn, which was 39% of the total.
North American markets paid $2.6bn and 57% was from beef.
The MIA annual report says revenue was strong during the first half of the financial year (the third and fourth quarters of 2022) and dropped away by $1/kg for beef and $1.20 for sheep in the second half (January to June 2023).
Beef export volume increased by 3% while value went down by 1% and China was the largest beef market at $2bn.
Sheepmeat export volumes increased by 4% but the revenue went down 8%.
“In many markets, sheepmeat is significantly higher priced than other proteins and high food prices during the year saw consumers in some markets switch to cheaper cuts and cheaper meats during the year,” the report says.
China paid $1.57bn, followed by the United States on $511 million. The volume of China’s purchasing increased by 16% but the value was down by 5%.
The fifth quarter includes casings and tripe, edible offal, prepared meat products, hides and skins, blood products and glands, rendered products, tallow and pet food.
These categories are roughly similar in earnings, with casings and tripe the biggest category at $436m, followed by edible offal at $345m.
The biggest market for bovine meal is Indonesian aquaculture and for tallow it is now the manufacture of biodiesel.
The meat industry workforce was 24,600 people of whom 6000 are process workers and 3500 are slaughterers, and 32% of the workforce are women.
The shortage of halal butchers has eased with the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme. The MIA reported that halal processing adds $4bn of value to the sector annually.
In Focus: Trade relations with post-covid China