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The red meat industry

Australia’s red meat and livestock industry makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy.

In 2018-19, the red meat and livestock industry contributed $17.6 billion(1) to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – or 1.4% of Australia’s key industry GDP - 1% higher year-on-year and up 89% from 2013–14. Red meat and livestock exports were valued at $16.3 billion(2), an increase of 16% year-on year and 43% higher than 2013–14 levels.

The Australian red meat and livestock industry created (direct and indirect) employment for approximately 434,000 people(3).

Download the State of the Industry Report 2020: The Australian Red Meat and Livestock Industry

Australia’s beef industry

  • In 2018–19, Australia produced approximately 2.4 million tonnes carcase weight (cwt) of beef and veal(7).
  • In 2019–20, 3 million grainfed cattle were marketed (feedlot turnoff), equal to 36% of all adult cattle slaughtered(4).
  • In 2019, Australia exported 76% of its total beef and veal production(5).
  • The value of total beef and veal exports in 2019 was A$10.8 billion(6)..

Find out fast facts about the beef cattle industry


Australia’s sheepmeat industry

  • In 2018–19, Australia produced 503,146 tonnes cwt of lamb and 228,135 tonnes carcase weight (cwt) of mutton(7).
  • Total sheepmeat production (lamb and mutton) was 731,281 tonnes cwt in 2019, just below year-ago levels, yet 3% above the five-year average(7).
  • In 2019, Australian lamb exports totalled 281,518 tonnes shipped weight (swt), up 5% year-on-year and 14% above the five-year average(7).
  • Australian mutton exports were 183,833 tonnes swt in 2019, 2% higher year-on-year and up 16% on the five-year average(9).
  • The value of Australian sheepmeat (lamb and mutton) exports in 2019 was $4.1 billion, up 14% from the previous year(6).

Find out fast facts about the sheepmeat industry


Australia’s goatmeat industry

  • Goat production in 2019 was 4% lower on the previous year, totalling 22,381 tonnes carcase weight (cwt)(7).
  • Goatmeat is a niche protein in Australia, with approximately 10% of production utilised domestically.(8)
  • Average carcase weights lifted 8% year-on-year, to 15.3kg/head in 2019, offsetting some of the decline in slaughter(7).

Find out fast facts about the goatmeat industry

Sharing red meat’s story

In August 2018, MLA launched a new online platform that provides consumers with an open and trusted source of information about the production of beef, sheep and goat meat in Australia.

Good Meat demonstrates how Australian red meat is produced sustainably, in high welfare systems and is an important part of a healthy balanced diet.

Good Meat is also home to a range of educational resources including study guides, classroom posters, lesson and activity sheets, virtual farm visits, digital lessons and online board games.

Visit Good Meat website


(1) IBIS World, ABARES

(2) IHS Markit, Comtrade

(3) IBISWorld, ABS

(4) MLA/ALFA Feedlot Survey

(5) MLA estimate

(6) IHS Markit

(7) ABS

(8) ABS, DA, IHS Markit

(9) DAWE