In their July update, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) forecasted that the 2021 Australian cattle kill will be 6.3m, a 35 year low.
Herd rebuilding is now well underway, with members expected to reach 26m this year, a 5% increase on 2020 and it is forecast to grow by a further million per year over 2022 and 2023.
Scarcity of cattle for slaughter has been reflected in exceptional farm gate prices.
The loss in numbers has also been offset somewhat by an 11kg increase in average carcase weights to 311.7kg, due to favourable growing conditions and an increase in numbers of grain-fed cattle.
Growth in the flock is forecast to continue over the next couple of years and MLA is predicting it will reach 75m in 2023
This will contribute to a beef supply of 1.96m tonnes carcase weight, as well as a small reduction of 30,000 in live exports to 720,000 cattle for the year.
Rebuilding the sheep flock in Australia is continuing at pace, with the MLA July forecast estimating it will reach 68.1m this year after hitting an all-time low of 64m in 2020.
This is explained by lower than expected lamb slaughter, with the rise this year revised down to a 1.5% increase from the 4% increase forecast in February.
Growth in the flock is forecast to continue over the next couple of years and MLA is predicting it will reach 75m in 2023.
That will mean a growing presence of Australian sheepmeat in coming years on global markets and the UK will become a significant market once the UK-Australia free trade deal, agreed in principle in June this year, comes into effect.