Craig Warhurst

Bumper barley but livestock and dairy numbers down in 2014

BUMPER winter crops in Western and South Australia drove a 21% increase in the country's barley production last financial year as livestock producers struggled to maintain their herds.

Australian Bureau of Statistics spokeswoman Katie Hutt said the increase in barley production would have been even more pronounced if not for poor growing seasons in the eastern states.

"WA achieved record barley production up 56% to 3.5 million tonnes, beating the previous record from 2005-06," she said.

"The yield was 2.8 tonnes per hectare which is the highest in 11 years.

"This contributed to an increase in national barley production to 9 million tonnes, another record not seen since 2005-06."

While wheat production was up 6% nationally, Queensland reported decreases in wheat, oats, and sorghum and New South Wales had drops for wheat, sorghum and canola yields.

The national dairy herd dropped 4% to 2.7 million head and the beef cattle herd fell 3% to 25.7 million head.

Sheep and lamb producers in all states and territories also struggled, with mobs falling 5% to 71.6 million head.

The dry conditions prompted a 12% increase in livestock slaughtering and exports rose to $14.6 billion last year.

"The gross value of cattle and calf disposals increased 11% to $8.5 billion, with slaughter numbers reaching highs not seen since 1978-79," Ms Hutt said.

"For sheep and lambs, the gross value of disposals also increased, up 19% to $2.6 billion." 

 

NATIONAL BEEF CATTLE NUMBERS

For the year ending June 30, 2014

Queensland - 12.5 million head

New South Wales - 5.2 million

Victoria - 2.3 million

Northern Territory - 2.2 million

Western Australia - 1.8 million

South Australia - 1 million

Tasmania - 470,000

Australian Capital Territory - 6300

AUSTRALIA - 25.7 million



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