Prices look strong but production a concern
WA sheepmeat and beef producers are set to enjoy strong prices into next year on the back of a growing global appetite for meat and limited supplies.
That is the buoyant outlook forecast in Rabobank’s Global Animal Protein Outlook 2019 report, released last week.
But the report flagged a warning about the impacts of potentially lower productive capacity across Australia’s national beef herds and sheep flocks as a result of higher than usual culling of breeding stock during 2018. It said any upside in domestic production would depend on improved seasonal conditions in the coming year.
Rabobank senior animal proteins analyst Angus Gidley-Baird said the report forecast slower growth in meat production in most regions of the world in 2019, mainly due to trade tensions, high feed prices and African swine fever.
“Global animal protein production, primarily beef, pork and poultry, is expected to expand by just over one million tonnes in 2019 to about 500 million tonnes,” he said. “This is well below the fiveyear average growth rate.”
For Australia, restrained global production could be positive for prices, especially finished lambs and cattle, according to the Rabobank report. New Zealand’s expected lowest lamb kill on record was expected to help sustain Australia’s sheepmeat prices in 2019.
Mr Gidley-Baird said Australian cattle numbers were expected to remain very low after heavy destocking between 2013 and 2016, and then again during the dry conditions of 2018. “There will be lower volumes available for feedlots and processing and, without substantial rain, 2019 will test many producers already dealing with limited and expensive fodder supplies,” he said.