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Key points:

  • Australian sheepmeat producers’ cost of production is well below the global average
  • Most Australian sheepmeat farms are above average in terms of liveweight production per ewe compared to the global average
  • Australian sheepmeat producers hold seven of the top 10 export flows for sheepmeat in the world.

The 2021 Global agribenchmark report for sheepmeat has been released.

The report is available here and provides an analysis of the performance of Australian sheepmeat producers against 55% of the global sheep flock as well as the performance of other farms.

This year’s report identifies Australian sheepmeat producers as some of the most efficient and diversified in the world, with costs of production well below the global average. Read on to find out more key insights from the 2021 report.

Financial performance

  • 5 of the 6 most profitable sheepmeat farming operations in the world were Australian, with the remaining farm being a German operation which receives government subsidies.
  • Australian producers’ cost of production (COP) was well below average for 5 of the 6 operations – a Victorian producer’s COP operated at 36% or US$178/kg of the global average of US$491/100kg, making it the fifth lowest in the world.


  • Based upon total liveweight sold per ewe, three Australian farms achieved above average productivity.
  • One of the NSW operations achieved the highest liveweight production per ewe in the world, at around 90kg lwt/ewe in 2021.
  • Australian growth rates and weaning weights outperformed the global average, with kill weights increasing while other international operations remain constant. This demonstrates the significant impact of genetic improvement, available pasture quality and production management capabilities Australian farmers have implemented.
  • Australian sheepmeat producers were some of the most productive in the world when accounting for all associated production metrics.

Global drivers

Australian sheepmeat producers hold seven of the top 10 export flows for sheepmeat in the world, with the remaining three coming from New Zealand. Consequently, Australia and New Zealand are the two main sheepmeat exporters in the world.

From 20072019, absolute sheepmeat production in New Zealand fell by 106,000 tonnes, whilst Australian production rose. This demonstrates both the key position Australian sheepmeat producers hold in the export market and the growth the Australian sheepmeat industry has experienced compared to its key competitor, New Zealand.