7218.0.55.001 - Livestock and Meat, Australia, Apr 2020 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/06/2020   
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Livestock slaughtered and meat produced

Key statistics (seasonally adjusted estimates)

Compared to March 2020

  • 15.6% decrease in calf slaughter to 32,400 head
  • 5.8% decrease in lamb production to 38,700 tonnes

Cattle

Compared to March 2020:
  • 1.7% increase in cattle slaughter to 669,900 head
  • 3.4% increase in beef production to 195,400 tonnes

Compared to April 2019:
  • 1.6% decrease in cattle slaughter
  • 1.3% increase in beef production

Image: Graph showing the number of cattle slaughtered and the amount of beef produced over the past 13 months in Australia


Calves

Compared to March 2020:
  • 15.6% decrease in calf slaughter to 32,400 head
  • 7.3% decrease in veal production to 1,800 tonnes

Compared to April 2019:
  • 35.7% decrease in calf slaughter
  • 22.2% decrease in veal production

Image: Graph showing the number of calves slaughtered and the amount of veal produced over the past 13 months in Australia

Sheep

Compared to March 2020:
  • 0.2% decrease in sheep slaughter to 551,100 head
  • 2.0% decrease in mutton production to 13,900 tonnes

Compared to April 2019:
  • 32.1% decrease in sheep slaughter
  • 26.0% decrease in mutton production

Image: Graph showing the number of sheep slaughtered and the amount of mutton produced over the past 13 months in Australia

Lamb

Compared to March 2020:
  • 5.7% decrease in lambs slaughtered to 1.6 million head
  • 5.8% decrease in lamb production to 38,700 tonnes

Compared to April 2019:
  • 14.8% decrease in lambs slaughtered
  • 11.6% decrease in lamb production

Image: Graph showing the number of lambs slaughtered and the amount of lamb produced over the past 13 months in Australia

Pigs

Compared to March 2020:
  • 4.1% decrease in pig slaughter to 429,000 head
  • 2.7% decrease in pork production to 34,100 tonnes

Compared to April 2019:
  • 1.7% decrease in pig slaughter
  • 2.0% increase in pork production
Image: Graph showing the number of pigs slaughtered and the amount of pork produced over the past 13 months in Australia


Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in April 2020

The ABS is continuing to monitor potential impacts from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on livestock slaughtering statistics, and will continue to do so for the duration of the pandemic.

For the April 2020 reference month, COVID-19 did not impact data collection activities related to livestock slaughtering. Individual abattoirs and slaughtering establishments reported a range of impacts attributed to COVID-19:
  • some businesses reported that although trade in food services has reduced, there is greater demand for meat from supermarkets and butchers;
  • select businesses reported a decrease in their operations due to COVID-19 restrictions impacting exports;
  • other businesses reported little to no impact from COVID-19 restrictions.

Suspension of trend estimates

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in livestock slaughter and meat production. In the short term, this measurement may be affected by changes to regular patterns in livestock slaughterings and meat production arising from continuing COVID-19 restrictions, as well as changes in overall environmental conditions. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for these factors, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying behaviour in livestock slaughter and meat production.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in livestock slaughter and meat production can be estimated accurately. The livestock trend series have therefore been suspended from the March 2020 reference month. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend for these series.

For more detail on trend estimates, please refer to paragraphs 16-19 in the Explanatory Notes and the ABS Feature Article: When it's Not "Business-as-Usual": Implications for ABS Time Series (cat no. 1350.0).

New ABS Website

The ABS will be launching a new website in 2020. You will soon be able to see how this release will appear on the new website by exploring our Beta site. Regular users of this information are encouraged to explore the Beta site and consider if this will affect the way you access and consume ABS data and information. If you would like more information on the new ABS website, or want to discuss how the transition to the new site might impact you, please email newABSwebsite@abs.gov.au