In mid-September Reuters reported that Australia raised its forecast for beef exports by 20 per cent as drought conditions worsened by an El Niño weather pattern forced farmers in the world’s third-largest exporter to maintain near-record slaughter rates.
Beef exports are expected to total 1.225 million tonnes in the crop year to July 1, 2016, the Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics and Rural Sciences (ABARES) said, up from its June forecast of 1.02 million tonnes.
The stronger exports will be driven by higher slaughter rates in Queensland, the country’s largest producing state, ABARES said, offsetting a slowdown in culling rates across the rest of the country.
Queensland is expected to bear the brunt of the dry weather associated with an El Niño that is predicted to peak by the end of 2015.
Farmers in Queensland have been plagued by drought for more than two years, which has wilted pasture and dried up dams — forcing graziers to cull animals at record levels.