Western Australian Beef Commentary


  • As of July 2019 the ABS estimated that the WA beef cattle herd numbered 1.9 million head which included 1.1 million cows and heifers.
  • Total turn-off (slaughter and live export) reached 792 000 in 2019/20- the highest on record over the last decade and an 11% increase year on year. Of this, domestic slaughter accounted for 58% of turn-off while live export accounted for 42%.
  • The gross value of production of the WA cattle industry was $828 million in 2018/19, up 4% year on year.
  • Total slaughter reached 437 000 head in 2020 of which 61% was made up of female cattle and 39% were male cattle. There has been a steady rise in the slaughter of female cattle in recent years, increasing 51% since 2017.
  • In 2020 WA beef production totalled 115 000 tonnes, down 2% year on year, but still the 2nd highest on record over the last decade.
  • The volume of beef exported from WA reached a total of 50.4 million kg (ceq) and was valued at $252.6 million, the 2nd highest year on record. The volume of beef exported has increased 38% over the last decade, while the value has increased 172%.
  • The largest market for WA beef in 2020 was China who accounted for 25% of the total quantity of beef exported and 26% of the value. Indonesia was the 2nd largest market in quantity terms accounting for 17% of exports but was 3rd in value terms (12%). The USA was 3rd with 15% of the quantity of exports but 2nd in value terms with 16% of the value of exports.
  • The number of cattle exported live from WA in 2020 reached 256 000 and accounted for 24% of Australia’s total live cattle exports.
  • The value of live cattle exported from WA (breeding and non-breeding) reached $334.2 million in 2020. This was a 33% increase compared to the start of the decade.
  • In value terms Vietnam was the largest market for live cattle from WA in 2020 with 34% of the value of exports. Indonesia was 2nd with 27% and Israel was 3rd with 16%.<--pagebreak-->