Western Australian Beef Commentary


  • The Western Australian (WA) beef cattle herd was estimated to number approximately 2.09 million head (adjusted figure) in 2015/16, a decline of 7% year on year.
  • During 2017, the WA market indicators have been strong, however have softened slightly in April:
    • The feeder yearling indicator averaged 297 c/kg, 6% lower than in April 2016.
    • The heavy cow sale yard indicator averaged 219 c/kg in April, 1% lower than April 2016.
    • The Western Young Cattle Indicator averaged 686 c/kg in April, 10% higher year on year.
  • The volume of boxed beef exported from WA grew by 72% between 2012 and 2015 from 25 million kg to 43 million kg before declining 5% to 41 million kg in 2016. The value of boxed beef exports rose from $68 million in 2012 to $184 million in 2015, an increase of 170%. It declined 7% to $171 million in 2016 but remains the highest on record except for 2015.In 2016 the largest market for boxed beef from WA was South Korea who accounted for 21% of the volume and 19% of the total value of WA beef exports.
  • In 2016 there was a dramatic increase of 32% year on year in the volume of live cattle exported from WA to 355 000 and the value of live cattle exports reached an all-time high of $412.4 million. This is an increase of 137% from 2012 and a year on year increase of 47%.
  • The largest market for live cattle in 2016 was Indonesia which accounted for 44% of the volume and 42% of the value of live cattle exported from WA.
  • Despite a strong 2016, the first four months of 2017 have seen a softening in demand for both boxed beef and live cattle exports, possibly due to the current high prices of Australian cattle, the large northern wet season delaying mustering and changing policies in international markets.