Australia - Livestock and Products Annual 2009

The prospects for the Australian pig industry are better for 2010 than in recent years, according to Mike Darby, Agricultural Specialist, in the latest GAIN report from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
calendar icon 5 January 2010
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At the time of writing this report, the Australian continent was experiencing improved seasonal conditions following prolonged and severe drought, which began in 2002. Despite improved conditions, the effects of such a severe drought continue to persist.

Output in 2010 is forecast to be higher than 2009, with prices easing slightly following a great improvement over the previous year. Imports of pork are likely to reach record levels, while exports too are predicted to rise along with total production.


Total pig meat production is forecast to increase to 346,000 metric tons (MT) in calendar year (CY) 2010, largely in line with ABARE's forecast increase. If achieved this would be considered to be well below average according to ABARE's historical data and represents a turnaround from a prolonged period of contracting production.

Improved supplies of feed grain combined with greatly improved pig prices will likely see production begin to increase in 2010.

Supplies of feed grain, which represent around two-thirds of the cost of the production, reached record lows following prolonged and severe drought which began in CY 2002. The Australian pig meat sector has undergone significant restructuring with many producers leaving the industry since CY 2002.


Prices received for live pigs have increased in recent times with ABARE estimates putting prices at A$3.32 in 2008/09 (July-June), up sharply from the A$2.40 reported for the previous year. Prices are expected to ease slightly in 2009/10 but are likely to remain at historically high levels.



Total imports of pig meat for CY 2010 are forecast to increase to 150,000 MT (Carcass Weight Equivalent; CWE). This would roughly equate to around 115,000 MT in shipped weight (using a conversion factor of 1.3). Post's forecast, if achieved, would represent a record level for imported pork.


Total exports of pig meat in 2009/10 are forecast to increase to 48,000 MT. Increased production is expected to an increase in the availability of pork suitable for export.


With regards to the H1N1 virus, Australia has reported three outbreaks in hog farms. The government has worked hard to effectively quarantine the disease and limit outbreaks. In addition, the government and Australia Pork Limited, the peak industry body, have conducted extensive public relations campaigns to communicate with domestic consumers as well as with importing countries about the safety of eating pork as it relates to the H1N1 virus. The Australian media has also reported widely on the H1N1 outbreaks and repeatedly mentions the safety of consuming pork. Australian governments, both state and federal, reacted quickly to H1N1 in the human population.

As a result of these effective outreach efforts, consumer demand in CY 2009 does not appear to have been greatly affected by the H1N1 issue with pork prices falling only slightly and remaining well above levels achieved in the previous year.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

January 2010
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