Meat Industry Facts

The Australia red meat industry employee approximately 200,000 workers across farm, processing and retail.

The meat industry consists of businesses mainly engaged in slaughtering livestock (red meat); boning, freezing, preserving or packing red meat; canning meat (except poultry, bacon, ham or corned meat); manufacturing meals from abattoir by-products (except from products of poultry slaughtering); or rendering lard or tallow. The industry excludes beef feedlot operations.

Australia produces just 3.9% of the world’s beef, however over 60% of production is exported. This means Australia is one of the three largest beef exporters alongside America and Brazil.


Key Facts;

  • 76,557 beef enterprises in Australia.
  • Around 25 million head of cattle.
  • Gross value of production around $5.7 billion, with 65% of production exported.
  • Main drivers of price, herd levels in competitive world market supplier countries, export status of competitors, export market sector demand, consumer preferences, drought, health status.
  • Niche market supplier prices driven by these are additional factors associated with quality.
  • There are around 250-300 meat processors (beef and sheep meat) in Australia.
  • Around 25 large processors located across Australia process 61% of production

Jobs in the industry range from:

production manager, quality assurance manager, meat inspector, boner, packer, butcher apprentice.