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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Agriculture >> Livestock

Cattle, sheep and pigs are the main livestock grown in Australia and have been present since the earliest days of European settlement. Table 14.32 provides an insight into the change in livestock numbers from 1861.

14.32 LIVESTOCK

Cattle
Sheep and lambs
Pigs
’000
’000
’000

1861
3,958
20,135
351
1871
4,276
41,594
543
1881
7,527
62,184
816
1891
10,300
97,881
891
1901
8,640
70,603
950
1911
11,745
98,066
1,026
1921
13,500
81,796
674
1931
11,721
110,568
1,072
1941
13,256
122,694
1,797
1951
15,229
115,596
1,134
1961
17,332
152,579
1,615
1971
24,373
177,792
2,590
1981
25,168
134,407
2,430
1991
23,662
163,238
2,531
1992
23,880
148,203
2,570
1993
24,062
138,099
2,646
1994
25,758
132,569
2,775
1995
25,731
120,862
2,653
1996
26,377
121,116
2,526
1997
26,695
120,228
2,555
1998
26,851
117,491
2,768
1999
26,578
115,456
2,626
2000
27,588
118,552
2,511
2001
27,722
110,928
2,748
2002
27,870
106,166
2,940

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).

Cattle

Cattle farming occurs in all states and territories. While dairy cattle are restricted mainly to southern and coastal districts, beef cattle are concentrated in Queensland and New South Wales. Table 14.33 shows the number of cattle by age, sex and purpose.

Cattle numbers in Australia increased slowly during the 1960s and 1970s, despite seasonal changes and heavy slaughtering, to a peak of 33.4 million in 1976. Beef cattle production is often combined with cropping, dairying and sheep. In the northern half of Australia, cattle properties and herd sizes are very large, pastures are generally unimproved, fodder crops are rare and beef is usually the only product. The industry is more intensive in the south, with higher stocking rates per hectare, because the more favourable environment allows the development of improved pastures (see map 14.34).

Drought conditions in the early 1980s led to a decline in the beef herd until 1984. For the next five years the size of the herd remained relatively stable. Between 1989 and 1998 cattle numbers increased gradually, despite unfavourable weather conditions continuing in many parts of Australia. After a slight decline in 1999, cattle numbers increased to 27.6 million in 2000, and have increased only marginally since then, largely due to very dry conditions over much of Australia in 2002.

Table 14.35 shows the number of cattle by state and territory.

14.33 CATTLE, By purpose

1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
'000

Milk cattle
Cows (in milk and dry)
1,977
2,060
2,155
2,171
2,176
2,123
Other milk cattle
982
1,015
1,065
969
1,041
1,008
Total
2,958
3,076
3,220
3,140
3,217
3,131
Meat cattle
Bulls used or intended for service
551
547
528
518
591
620
Cows and heifers (1 year old and over)
11,879
11,783
11,621
12,282
12,007
12,652
Calves under 1 year old
6,029
6,026
5,740
5,872
6,083
5,679
Other cattle (1 year old and over)
5,278
5,420
5,469
5,774
5,823
5,788
Total
23,736
23,776
23,358
24,448
24,504
24,739
Total cattle
26,695
26,851
26,578
27,588
27,722
27,870

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).

14.34 CATTLE FOR ALL PURPOSES(a) - 30 June 2001(b)
Map - 14.34 Cattle for all purposes - 30 June 2001

      (a) Excluding house cows.
      (b) This map has been generated using Agricultural Census data at the Statistical Local Area level for 2000-01.
      Source: AgStats on GSP (7117.0.30.001) CD-ROM product 1996-97 to 2000-01.
14.35 CATTLE, By state and territory

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
Aust.(a)
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000

1997
6,511
4,411
10,415
1,181
1,909
725
1,530
26,695
1998
6,351
4,142
10,867
1,214
1,973
728
1,567
26,851
1999
6,291
4,125
10,748
1,183
1,931
724
1,567
26,578
2000
5,970
4,264
11,808
1,184
2,165
617
1,571
27,588
2001
6,215
4,405
11,376
1,242
2,128
636
n.p.
27,722
2002
6,021
4,412
11,544
1,381
2,104
619
n.p.
27,870

(a) Includes ACT.
Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).

Dairying

Dairying is a major Australian agricultural industry. The preliminary estimate of gross value of dairy production at farm gate prices in 2001-02 was $3.7b (table 14.36). This represented 9% of the gross value of agricultural production in Australia and placed dairy production third behind beef and wheat. Table 14.33 shows that the number of milk cattle in 2002, at 3.1 million, was 3% less than in 2001.

The article at the end of Agriculture - The Australian dairy industry traces the development of the industry and examines its recent performance.

Dairy production

Most dairy production occurs in high rainfall coastal fringe areas where climate and natural resources allow production to be based on year-round pasture grazing. This enables efficient, low-cost milk production. With the exception of several inland river schemes, pasture growth generally depends on natural rainfall. Feedlot-based dairying is expanding, although it remains uncommon in Australia. However, the use of supplementary feed, such as grains, has become more common throughout the industry in recent years.

Australian milk production rose steadily until 1999-2000. Less favourable seasonal conditions and farm exits associated with deregulation of the milk industry saw production decrease by 3% to 10.5 billion litres in 2000-01, before recovering to 11.3 billion litres in 2001-02 (table 14.36).

14.36 WHOLE MILK INTAKE BY FACTORIES, Production, use and gross value

Market milk sales
by factories
Milk used in the manufacture
of dairy products
Total intake
Gross value
mill. litres
mill. litres
mill. litres
$m

1996-97
1,853
7,187
9,040
2,809
1997-98
1,848
7,591
9,439
2,817
1998-99
1,859
8,319
10,178
2,900
1999-2000
1,842
9,005
10,847
2,845
2000-01
1,920
8,625
10,545
3,053
2001-02
1,886
9,385
11,271
3,717

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0); Agriculture, Australia (7113.0); Australian Dairy Corporation.

Domestic dairy market

Average annual per capita milk consumption by Australians has stabilised at around 100 litres since the mid-1980s. According to Australian Dairy Corporation data, for the year ending December 2002, Australians consumed 97 litres of milk, 11.6 kilograms (kg) of cheese and 5.5 kg of yoghurt per person.

Dairy exports

In 2001-02, Australia exported 856,000 tonnes (net) of dairy products. This produce was valued at $3.2b (f.o.b.) which was 2.6% of total merchandise exports. 'Milk and cream and milk products (excluding butter and cheese)' contributed $1.82b while 'Cheese and curd' and 'Butter and other fats and oils derived from milk' brought in $1.03b and $0.3b respectively.

Sheep

Sheep numbers reached a peak of 180 million in Australia in 1970. In general, numbers have fallen since then. Poor market prospects for wool after 1990 had a marked impact on the flock size with sheep numbers falling rapidly until 1995, after which there was a gradual decline until 1999 (tables 14.37 and 14.38). At 30 June 2002, Australia had approximately 106 million sheep and lambs.

Map 14.39 shows the distribution of sheep and lambs in Australia at 30 June 2001.

14.37 SHEEP AND LAMBS, By state

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
Aust.(a)
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.

1997
42.4
22.3
10.5
13.1
27.8
4.0
120.2
1998
40.8
21.1
11.0
13.1
27.5
3.9
117.5
1999
40.6
21.0
10.6
13.1
26.4
3.8
115.5
2000
43.4
22.7
9.2
13.8
26.1
3.3
118.6
2001
40.9
22.3
8.7
12.6
23.1
3.2
110.9
2002
38.5
21.4
6.8
13.0
23.1
3.4
106.2

(a) Includes NT and ACT.
Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).

14.38 SHEEP AND LAMBS

1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.

Sheep
89.8
87.5
86.0
87.9
83.0
77.8
Lambs (under 1 year old)
30.5
30.0
29.5
30.7
28.0
28.4
Total
120.2
117.5
115.5
118.6
110.9
106.2

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).

14.39 SHEEP AND LAMBS, Distribution - 30 June 2001(a)
Map - 14.39 Sheep and lambs, Distribution - 30 June 2001

      (a) This map has been generated using Agricultural Census data at the Statistical Local Area level for 2000-01.
      Source: AgStats on GSP (7117.0.30.001) CD-ROM product 1996-97 to 2000-01.

Pigs

Pig farming is a highly intensive industry. The majority of pigs are grown in specially designed sheds which provide a controlled environment conducive to the efficient production of large numbers of animals. The number of pigs increased by 7% to 2.9 million in 2002, while the number of establishments classified to pig farming fell 7% to 3,200. Recent changes in the Australian pig industry have seen many smaller producers leave the industry and existing producers increase their size of operations in an attempt to remain viable.

As table 14.40 shows, New South Wales is the largest producer of pigs, followed by Victoria and Queensland.

14.40 PIGS

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
Aust.
’000
’000
’000
'000
’000
’000
'000

1997
729
485
600
417
297
24
2,555
1998
849
518
648
424
303
24
2,768
1999
778
521
621
406
277
22
2,626
2000
710
523
544
438
276
18
2,511
2001
845
557
597
438
286
22
2,748
2002
833
673
643
410
361
18
2,940

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).

Poultry

Poultry farming is also a highly intensive industry, with the majority of poultry raised in large sheds which provide the birds with a stable environment protected from the elements. The poultry farming industry consists of two streams, meat production and egg production, both being major users of feed grains. Although the industry has grown over recent years, there was a decline in 2002 with poultry numbers falling by 7% to 86.3 million birds (table 14.41).

14.41 POULTRY

Chickens(a)
Other poultry


Chickens for egg production
Meat chickens (broilers)
Total
chickens
Ducks
Turkeys
Other
poultry
Total all poultry
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
'000

1997
14,059
67,373
81,432
390
1,211
909
83,942
1998
14,036
75,504
89,540
456
1,268
673
91,937
1999
13,912
77,863
91,775
370
1,331
448
93,924
2000
12,016
72,912
84,928
517
1,360
224
87,029
2001
14,276
76,697
90,973
770
717
437
92,897
2002
12,858
72,144
85,002
567
584
*160
86,313

(a) Includes breeding stock.
Source: Livestock Products, Australia (7215.0); ABS data available on request, Poultry and Game Birds Slaughtered Collection.


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