A new report commissioned by research bodies LiveCorp and Meat & Livestock Australia, in association with Dairy Australia, outlines the value of the live dairy cattle export trade and the benefit it brings to different regions of southern Australia.
Wayne Collier
Wayne Collier

The trade was worth $258 million in 2020-21, of which $180 million was retained by dairy farmers. Australia exports a significant number of dairy cattle each year, predominantly from southern states to markets such as China and Japan.

These are usually high-value animals with specific pedigree and pregnancy status requirements.

LiveCorp chief executive officer Wayne Collier noted that the value of the live export sector to dairy farmers is more than just the number of jobs.

“The report found that around 830 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs were supported from the rearing of dairy cattle for live export. More importantly, exporting dairy farms were more profitable than non-exporting farms in all states apart from South Australia,” Mr Collier said.

“We know that Australian dairy cattle are highly valued by our overseas customers. They respect our strong health protocols and disease-free status. They also know that there are strict regulations around animal welfare, exporting and the care taken when transporting animals overseas.

“The genetic potential of our animals also helps to bolster the performance of our customers’ domestic herds. Australian dairy cattle are known for producing high volumes of milk and also being resilient and able to adapt to variable climates.”

Charlie McElhone, the general manager of Trade and Industry Strategy at Dairy Australia, noted that live dairy cattle exports continue to provide valuable business diversification and an alternative income stream for many dairy farmers. “

The report highlights how the dairy heifer export industry provides an important market for surplus heifers and has been a valuable alternative income stream for dairy farmers.

The trade has helped many dairy farmers to mitigate against some of the volatility of milk prices while providing another avenue to ensure business sustainability,” Mr McElhone said.

A copy of the report, the “Live dairy cattle export industry economic assessment”, can be found on the LiveCorp website.

Australia exports an average of 80,000 of dairy cattle each year, predominantly from southern states to markets such as China and Japan.

Trade facts from the report:

-In 2020-21 the trade was valued at $258 million, of which $180 million was retained by dairy farmers.
-Around 830 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs were supported from rearing of dairy cattle for live export.
-Exporting farms are more profitable than non-exporting farms in all states apart from South Australia.
-Australian dairy cattle are favoured in-market because of good genetics, stringent health protocols, disease-free status, benefits of diversifying with live dairy cattle exports, resilient animals able to adapt to variable climates, good animal welfare and occupational health and safety practices.

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