Livestock Products, Australia

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Quarterly statistics on receivals of wool, livestock slaughtering and meat production

Reference period
March 2021

Livestock products (seasonally adjusted)


  • Cattle slaughtered in the March 2021 quarter decreased 10.2% to 1.4 million.
  • Beef production in the March 2021 quarter decreased 8.6% to 449,800 tonnes.   



  • Sheep slaughtered in the March 2021 quarter decreased 5.9% to 1.2 million.
  • Mutton production in the March 2021 quarter decreased 2.6% to 31,800 tonnes.



  • Lambs slaughtered in the March 2021 quarter decreased 8.5% to 4.6 million.
  • Lamb meat production in the March 2021 quarter decreased 8.3% to 112,700 tonnes.



  • Pig slaughter in the March 2021 quarter increased 0.2% to 1.4 million.
  • Pork production in the March 2021 quarter decreased 0.1% to 108,500 tonnes.



  • Chicken slaughter in the March 2021 quarter decreased 0.2% to 170 million. 
  • Chicken meat production in the March 2021 quarter decreased 0.9% to 320,600 tonnes. 


  • National wool receivals for the March 2021 quarter increased 12.4% to 82,116 tonnes.

Livestock value (original)

  • The gross value of cattle and calves slaughtered decreased 4.9% to $2.9 billion.
  • The gross value of sheep and lambs slaughtered increased 2.6% to $1.1 billion. 
  • The gross value of pigs slaughtered decreased 2.1% to $391 million. 
  • The gross value of poultry slaughtered decreased 1.3% to $726 million.

Changes in this and forthcoming issues

Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in March 2021

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

For the March 2021 reference quarter, COVID-19 did not impact data collection activities related to the ABS' livestock collections. For livestock slaughtering, individual abattoirs and slaughtering establishments reported a range of impacts attributed to COVID-19:

  • some businesses reported that trade in food services is improving, with continued demand for meat from supermarkets and butchers;
  • some businesses reported a decrease in their operations due to COVID-19 restrictions, changes to the international market impacting exports, and challenges limiting access to some aspects of the supply chain;
  • 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 (including poultry), meat production and wool receivals data.  In the short term, this measurement may be affected by changes to regular patterns in livestock slaughterings, meat production and wool receivals arising from continuing COVID-19 restrictions, as well as changes in overall environmental conditions.  If the trend estimates were to be calculated without fully accounting for these factors, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying behaviour in livestock slaughter, meat production and wool receivals.

It may be some time before the underlying trend can be estimated accurately.  The livestock slaughtering and meat production trend series were therefore suspended from the March 2020 reference quarter, and poultry slaughtering and meat production and wool receivals trend series suspended from the June 2020 reference quarter.  These 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 24-27 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).

Update to seasonal adjustment methods

The seasonal time series in this publication (Livestock Products, Australia) use the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual real-world events such as COVID-19 can distort estimates calculated using this method.

From the September 2020 quarter, seasonal factors will be calculated using data up to and including the June 2020 quarter, then projected from the September 2020 quarter onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted for industries affected by COVID-19 impacts. Switching to the forward factor method may result in revisions in seasonal data for future quarters when the concurrent seasonal adjustment method is reinstated.

For more information about the updates to seasonal adjustment methods across ABS' economic statistics during the COVID-19 period, please refer to the ABS release: Methods changes during the COVID-19 period.

New and Renumbered Data Download Tables

The monthly livestock publication (Livestock and Meat, Australia) ceased at the June 2020 month issue, with the time series tables from that publication now available on a quarterly basis in this publication. This change means that some table numbers and names for this publication have been updated and re-ordered. There are now 18 tables available in Data Downloads. The following list details the new table numbers, and where relevant, the former table number reference:

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)
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. Livestock Slaughtered - chickens: all series ('000) - formerly TABLE 2
Table 9. Red meat produced - beef: all series (tonnes)
Table 10. Red meat produced - veal: all series (tonnes)
Table 11. Red meat produced - mutton: all series (tonnes)
Table 12. Red meat produced - lamb: all series (tonnes)
Table 13. Red meat produced - pig meat: all series (tonnes)
Table 14. Red meat produced - total red meat: all series (tonnes)
Table 15. Chicken meat produced: all series (tonnes) - formerly TABLE 4
Table 16. Brokers and Dealers receivals of taxable wool: all series (tonnes) - formerly TABLE 5
Table 17. Livestock Slaughtered - excluding chickens: Original ('000) - formerly TABLE 3A
Table 18. Livestock Slaughtered - Chickens: Original ('000) - formerly TABLE 3B

The Data Cube, Publication Table, that has been available in previous issues of this publication has now ceased. This data is included in the tables accessible from Data Downloads.

Data downloads

Data files

Data cubes

Gross value of livestock slaughtered

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 7215.0.

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