Survey reveals growing optimism in Australian beef industry

4 July 2024
Australian beef producers’ optimism in the Australian beef industry is growing according to the latest Beef Producer Intentions Survey (BPIS). Pic: AgriShots
An article by  Alex McLaughlin

Australian beef producers’ optimism in the Australian beef industry is growing according to the latest Beef Producer Intentions Survey (BPIS).

The survey, which is conducted three times a year by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), reported that one in two producers have a positive outlook, resulting in a net positive sentiment increase of 11% to 34% compared to the last survey in November 2023.

 

A much smaller cohort saw a negative outlook (16%), while about one in three (31%) were uncommitted and uncertain about the next 12 months.

The survey spoke to more than 3,000 grass-fed beef cattle producers in April and May this year.

It covers producer sentiment and intentions, herd profile, spring and autumn calving, turn-off weights for different producer types and sales-to-date forecast.

Manager for Market Information at MLA, Stephen Bignell, said that Northern producers were generally more positive than Southern producers. However, there were key variations across the states.

“The results suggest that that Queensland, NSW and Victorian producers are more positive than producers in other states, mostly due to an increase in prices and increased confidence following rain over the summer,” Mr Bignell said.

“Producers in Western Australia continue to report a far less positive outlook, driven by a fall in prices and a lack of rainfall in key cattle grazing areas.”

“We note this is a clear change in intention from that reported in the November 2023 survey where there was a stronger intention to reduce herd sizes, reflecting the dry conditions heading into summer,” Mr Bignell said.

“While the results do not indicate producers have all shifted to a rebuild focus, there has been a noticeable shift away from herd reductions at this stage.”

Producers noted that the summer rainfall had influenced their herd size intentions.

The April 2024 survey had a focus on measuring some of the demographics of Australia’s herd, where it has been estimated that there are about just over 26 million on-farm grassfed adult beef cattle.

More than half of the on-farm grassfed adult beef cattle on hand are breeding cows with heifers making up an additional 15% of the total estimated herd size.

Queensland accounts for almost half the herd size (48%), with NSW holding 20% and the remaining states making up the rest.

The Beef Producer Intentions Survey was designed by MLA to support the industry with reliable data and is used by MLA and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). It is one of the inputs into the MLA beef industry forecasting models.

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