Australian cattle prices to remain robust: Rural Bank


By Brandon Gallagher, Argus Media

06 January 2022


Australia's beef cattle prices are expected to remain well above average for the first half of this year, the country's agricultural bank Rural Bank said in its 2022 Australian agriculture outlook.


Rural Bank expects Australian beef production to rise by 12pc in the first half of 2022 as cattle reach slaughter weights and herd numbers grow following a rebuild that led to a 36-year low in slaughtered cattle in 2021. The herd rebuild was required after the 2017-19 drought forced farmers to offload breeding cattle because of a lack of feed and water. This herd decline was compounded by breeder cattle lost in flooding, especially is northwest Queensland, in 2020-21.


Australian beef production is expected to reach 1.5mn t in 2022, leading to a 15pc increase in beef exports across Australia from a 36-year low in 2021. South Korean demand for Australian beef is anticipated to remain solid throughout 2022, with exports to South Korea rising by 8pc last year. Both China and Japan imported less Australian beef in 2021, although the report forecasts that beef consumption in China could rise by 4.3pc in 2022. But it remains unclear how much access Australian exporters will have to this market given the trade tensions between Beijing and Canberra.


Rural Bank expects beef production to decline globally by an estimated 4pc in 2022, largely because of softening beef production in the US caused by tighter cattle supplies putting downward pressure on slaughter rates.


High rainfall over the past two months has led to an abundance of feed...