RED meat trade with China had a strong opening month in January, after Australian exports to China set record annual volumes for beef and sheepmeat in 2012.
MLA reports Australia's beef exports to China during January were 4437 tonnes swt, up from just 253 tonnes swt in January 2012.
The monthly total was much higher compared to the five-year average for January shipments (214 tonnes swt), and were 9pc above September 2012, when the shipments first exceeded 4000 tonnes.
Following December 2012, sheepmeat exports to China during January reached the second highest volumes, to 6659 tonnes swt, up 194pc year-on-year.
Since September 2012, the proportion of manufacturing beef exports has fallen, taken over by cuts such as brisket, thick flank/knuckle and silverside/outside.
While manufacturing shipments during January accounted for only 9pc (380 tonnes swt) of total exports, brisket and thick flank/ knuckle represented 15pc (663 tonnes swt) and 14pc (636 tonnes swt), respectively, with silverside/outside making up 13pc (556 tonnes swt).
Mutton exports during January were the second highest volume after December 2012, rising 471pc year-on-year, to 3965 tonnes swt.
Lamb shipments were the third highest volume, after November and December 2012, up 71pc year-on-year, to 2694 tonnes swt.
The sheepmeat cut in the highest demand during January remained breast and flap, with lamb breast and flap rising 41pc year-on-year, to 1462 tonnes swt and mutton increasing 182pc year-on-year, to 1505 tonnes swt.
Lamb shoulder and mutton carcase exports during the month also grew substantially – lamb shoulder exports during January totalled 576 tonnes, up from 18 tonnes swt in January 2012, while mutton carcase shipments during January also surged to 1101 tonnes swt, up from only 10 tonnes swt in the same month of the previous year.