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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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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 white settlement. Table 16.42 provides an insight into the change in livestock numbers from 1861.


16.42 LIVESTOCK(a)

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
(b)23,662
163,238
2,531
1992
(b)23,880
148,203
2,570
1993
(b)24,062
138,099
2,646
1994
(b)25,758
132,569
2,775
1995
(b)25,731
120,862
2,653
1996
(b)26,377
121,116
2,526
1997
(b)26,695
120,228
2,555
1998
(b)26,851
117,491
2,768
1999
(b)26,578
115,456
2,626
2000
(b)27,588
118,552
2,511

(a) Prior to 1943, livestock numbers were recorded at different times of the year in different states. In 2000, the collection period was changed from 31 March to 30 June to better align with other ABS surveys.
(b) Excludes house cows.

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 16.43 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 16.44).

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.

Table 16.45 shows the number of cattle by state and territory.


16.43 CATTLE(a), By purpose

1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
'000

Milk cattle
Cows (in milk and dry)
1,821
1,884
1,977
2,060
2,155
2,171
Other milk cattle
919
923
982
1,015
1,065
969
Total
2,740
2,808
2,958
3,076
3,220
3,140
Meat cattle
Bulls used or intended for service
555
553
551
547
528
518
Cows and heifers (1 year old and over)
11,213
11,667
11,879
11,783
11,621
12,282
Calves under 1 year old
5,806
5,768
6,029
6,026
5,740
5,872
Other cattle (1 year old and over)
5,418
5,581
5,278
5,420
5,469
5,774
Total
22,991
23,569
23,736
23,776
23,358
24,448
Total cattle
25,731
26,377
26,695
26,851
26,578
27,588

(a) Excludes house cows.

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).


16.44 CATTLE FOR ALL PURPOSES, Excluding house cows - 31 March 1997(a)
Map - 16.44 CATTLE FOR ALL PURPOSES, Excluding house cows - 31 March 1997(a)
(a) This map has been generated using small area Agricultural Census data for 1996-97.
Source: AgStats on Floppy Disk (7117.0).


16.45 CATTLE(a), By state/territory

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

1995
6,236
4,280
9,947
1,216
1,899
693
1,421
25,731
1996
6,390
4,396
10,214
1,219
1,924
718
1,503
26,377
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

(a) Excludes house cows.
(b) Includes ACT.

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).


Dairying

Dairying is a major Australian agricultural industry. The estimate of gross value of dairy production at farm gate prices in 2000-01 was $3.1b (table 16.46). This represented 9% of the gross value of agricultural production in Australia and placed dairy production third behind beef and wheat. Table 16.43 shows that the number of milk cattle in 2000, at 3.1 million, was 2% less than in 1999.

The entry of the United Kingdom, Australia's then largest market, into the European Union in 1973 forced the Australian dairy industry to develop new export trade links and become more internationally competitive.

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.

While Australian milk production had risen steadily up 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 (table 16.46).


16.46 WHOLE MILK INTAKE BY FACTORIES(a), 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

1995-96
1,840
6,876
8,716
2,848
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
3,058

(a) Excludes NT.

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. However, there have been substantial changes in the types of fresh milk consumed, with fat-reduced and modified milks taking an increasing share of overall market milk sales. In 1998-99, Australians consumed 10.7 kg of cheese per person, the same as in 1997-98. Per capita milk consumption showed a slight decrease from 103.0 litres in 1997-98 to 102.4 litres in 1998-99 (see table 16.59).

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 16.47 and 16.48). Preliminary data show that at 30 June 2001 Australia had approximately 111 million sheep and lambs.

Map 16.49 shows the distribution of sheep and lambs in Australia at 31 March 1997.


16.47 SHEEP AND LAMBS, By state

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

1995
40.5
21.4
11.6
13.2
30.2
3.9
120.9
1996
41.1
22.0
10.7
13.6
29.8
3.9
121.1
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

(a) Includes ACT.

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).


16.48 SHEEP AND LAMBS

1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.
mill.

Sheep
94.0
91.7
89.8
87.5
86.0
87.9
Lambs (under 1 year old)
26.8
29.4
30.5
30.0
29.5
30.7
Total
120.9
121.1
120.2
117.5
115.5
118.6

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).



16.49 SHEEP AND LAMBS, Distribution - 31 March 1997(a)
Map - 16.49 SHEEP AND LAMBS, Distribution - 31 March 1997(a)
(a) This map has been generated using small area Agricultural Census data for 1996-97.
Source: AgStats on Floppy Disk (7117.0).


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 decreased by 4% to 2.5 million in 1999-2000, while the number of establishments classified to pig farming fell slightly to 3,400. 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 16.50 shows, New South Wales is the largest producer of pigs, followed by Queensland and Victoria.


16.50 PIGS

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

1995
791
439
644
423
316
38
2,653
1996
710
458
603
412
314
26
2,526
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

(a) Includes NT and ACT.

Source: Agricultural Commodities, Australia (7121.0).


Poultry

Poultry farming is 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 2000 with poultry numbers falling by 7% to 87.0 million birds (table 16.51).


16.51 POULTRY

Chickens(a)
Other poultry(b)


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

1995(d)
11,148
54,445
65,593
(e)
(e)
2,088
67,682
1996
13,413
62,331
75,744
411
1,222
1,040
78,417
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

(a) Includes breeding stock.
(b) Excludes turkeys in SA.
(c) Excludes meat strain chickens in Tas.
(d) Excludes other poultry in SA.
(e) Not collected.

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


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