Since 2019 the annual share of Australian beef exports as a percentage of domestic beef production has been in decline, easing from 74% of beef produced being exported to just 64% so far this year (Jan to June). Meat and Livestock Australia are forecasting about 69% of beef produced in 2022 will be exported, but as of the middle of the year we have seen approximately 911,000 tonnes cwt produced versus around 585,000 tonnes cwt exported.
Sheep meat exports (lamb and mutton combined) have eased too since 2019 compared to domestic production levels, but the proportion of exports to production remains above 70% for 2022. In 2019 annual Australian sheep meat exports were nearly 77% of production. However, so far this year (Jan to June) we have seen around 340,000 tonnes cwt of sheep meat produced versus approximately 245,000 tonnes cwt of exports, a ratio of exports to production of 72%.
Growth in the proportion of beef exports to production has been relatively gradual over the last four decades, as demonstrated by the gradient of the trend line (dotted line on chart) from about 62% in the early 1990s to 70% in recent years. In contrast, the rise in the export focus of the Australian sheep meat sector has been much more robust, increasing from around 40% of production being exported in the mi 1990s to around 75% of production being exported in recent years.