Livestock and Meat, Australia

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Monthly data from abattoirs and major slaughtering establishments. Includes livestock slaughtered by country butchers and other small establishments

Reference period
March 2020

Key statistics

  • Pork production increased by 3.9% to 35,100 tonnes compared to February 2020.
  • Sheep slaughtered decreased 18.3% to 542,100 head compared to February 2020.

Main features

Livestock slaughtered and meat produced


Compared to February 2020:

  • 2.3% increase in cattle slaughter to 652,800 head
  • 0.5% increase in beef production to 187,800 tonnes

Compared to March 2019:

  • 9.0% decrease in cattle slaughter
  • 7.0% decrease in beef production


Compared to February 2020:

  • 7.5% decrease in calf slaughter to 39,800 head
  • 4.0% decrease in veal production to 2,000 tonnes

Compared to March 2019:

  • 21.8% decrease in calf slaughter
  • 14.0% decrease in veal production


Compared to February 2020:

  • 18.3% decrease in sheep slaughter to 542,100 head
  • 16.3% decrease in mutton production to 13,800 tonnes

Compared to March 2019:

  • 35.7% decrease in sheep slaughter
  • 31.4% decrease in mutton production


Compared to February 2020:

  • 5.7% decrease in lambs slaughtered to 1.7 million head
  • 4.4% decrease in lamb production to 41,100 tonnes

Compared to March 2019:

  • 15.5% decrease in lambs slaughtered
  • 11.6% decrease in lamb production


Compared to February 2020:

  • 3.7% increase in pig slaughter to 447,500 head
  • 3.9% increase in pork production to 35,100 tonnes

Compared to March 2019:

  • 1.7% increase in pig slaughter
  • 3.4% increase in pork production

Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in March 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 March 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 as at 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 17-20 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).

Data downloads - time series spreadsheets

Table 1. Livestock slaughtered - bulls, bullocks and steers: all series ('000)

Table 2. Livestock slaughtered - cows and heifers: all series ('000)

Table 3. Livestock slaughtered - cattle (excluding calves): all series ('000)

From December 2014 cattle slaughtered and beef produced in the Northern Territory have been included with Queensland figures where applicable

Table 4. Livestock slaughtered - calves: all series ('000)

Table 5. Livestock slaughtered - sheep: all series ('000)

Table 6. Livestock slaughtered - lambs: all series ('000)

Table 7. Livestock slaughtered - pigs: all series ('000)

Table 8. Red meat produced - beef: all series (tonnes)

From December 2014 cattle slaughtered and beef produced in the Northern Territory have been included with Queensland figures where applicable

Table 9. Red meat produced - veal: all series (tonnes)

Table 10. Red meat produced - mutton: all series (tonnes)

Table 11. Red meat produced - lamb: all series (tonnes)

Table 12. Red meat produced - pig meat: all series (tonnes)

Table 13. Red meat produced - total red meat: all series (tonnes)

Data downloads - data cubes

Publication tables

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