Bullish outlook for beef sector

Australia’s beef industry is buoyed by a sense of optimism, with commodity prices having steadied, better than expected weather conditions on the east coast, and strong demand for quality, Australian beef.

7 May 2024

CommBank convened a panel of industry leaders at a breakfast event at Beef 2024, exploring the outlook for the beef sector and how the industry might realise opportunities throughout the entire value chain.

CommBank’s Momentum X event, Beyond Beef: Exploring the Dynamics of the Red Meat Industry heard from producer Fred Hughes, industry advocate Jason Strong and Coles National Livestock Manager Red Meat, Steve Rennie. The panellists agreed the future looks bright for Australian beef, particularly as the sector progresses its sustainability journey towards net zero.

According to recent ABARES figures, the value of beef, veal and live cattle production is expected to rise by 25% to $15.7 billion in 2024–25.1

Fred Hughes is a Director of Hughes Pastoral Group, one of Australia’s leading beef producers.  Hughes Pastoral Group operate large-scale grazing aggregations across QLD and NT with a focus on producing high quality, pure-bred wagyu cattle.  

“We have a wonderful story to tell global consumers. On our extensive pastures, we have a production system that sequesters far more carbon than we produce, whilst producing a high quality, incredibly nutrient dense and delicious product. We feel that the long-fed market has turned the corner after a challenging 18 months, as well as there being new opportunities for value-adding of cull females,” Fred says.

Beef Australia 2024

Jason Strong says that if producers are going to capitalise on the opportunities ahead, while ensuring they minimise risk, there needs to be collaboration right across the value chain – from farm gate to dinner plate.

“The Australian red meat and livestock industry has transformed over the last 30 years. From a commodity industry to one that has a sophisticated supply chain connecting participants from the cattle producer to the most discerning consumers around the world. The way we collaborate between the individual components of the supply chain, share information and develop relationships is key to how we now create and capture value,” Jason says.

As National Livestock Manager - Red Meat for Coles, Steve Rennie works closely with a team of livestock specialists and more than 2,500 beef and lamb producers each year.

“Our beef suppliers have led the way on reducing emissions for Coles through a number of initiatives such as improving herd efficiency and fertility and improving nutrition and feeding programs. We’re also running supplier engagement workshops to help producers calculate their carbon footprints, so together we can achieve our targets and create a more sustainable future,” Steve says.

Beef Australia 2024

Natasha Greenwood, CBA’s General Manager for Agribusiness moderated the panel session, and closed out by saying events like Beef 2024 are an important opportunity for industry to come together and connect on ways to build a dynamic, thriving and future fit sector.

“What we heard at the panel session today was that right throughout the beef value chain there are opportunities to be realised  as we look towards 2030, but it’s going to take the collaborative efforts of everyone involved in the beef sector including industry, government, banks, producers, consumers and supply chain to ensure the continued success of this critical commodity that underpins our thriving Australian ag industry.”

Insights for future-facing business

To learn more from leading industry experts from right across the value chain about Australia’s transition to net-zero visit CommBank Foresight™

Things you should know

  • 1 https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/agricultural-outlook/beef-and-veal

    This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. You should consider seeking independent financial advice before making any decision based on this information. The information in this article and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its publication but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in this article.