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Livestock Overview

The estimated combined GVP of NSW livestock and livestock products was $6,339 million up 2% year-on-year and 35% over 3 years. Beef Cattle remained the main contributor to growth with high prices generating the highest fiscal year average on record. Record high prices also pushed the value of the wool industry up 20%.

2016-17 was generally a favourable year for extensive livestock industries. The exceptionally wet and mild winter afforded most with an abundance of fodder over the spring and summer months, facilitating restocking opportunities and generating strong competition between restockers and processors. While record breaking heat was a feature throughout summer, the benefits of the very wet period prior and subsequent feed base enabled producers to manage through the heat. High prices reflected the supply scarcity, with average farm incomes increasing further across all regions of the state.

Intensive livestock industries experienced a more varied year. Milk and pork producers were faced with falling prices, challenging farm productivity, whereas poultry and egg producers benefited from rising domestic and international demand. Input costs were generally lower as grain and water prices fell.



over 3 years


GVP and contribution to strategic plan growth Contribution to Strategic Plan Growth Beef Cattle GVP $2,376m 22% Contribution to strategic plan growth

NSW DPI researchers have found potential for genetic selection to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cattle without altering cattle productivity.

Key Livestock Programs


Genetic trials to reduce greenhouse emissions from cattle have enabled  researchers to develop tools to allow producers to identify bulls whose offspring will have lower methane emissions, with the use of DNA-generated estimated progeny difference (EPD) for methane traits in a selection program. This could reduce methane emissions in beef cattle by approximately 5% over 10 years.

A NSW DPI research program on muscling in its Angus herd has shown that increasing cow muscle score from D to B increased dressing percentage and retail meat in carcasses, with no adverse effects on maternal productivity or meat quality, and potentially adding 20c/kg for each unit increase in muscle score.


Prime lambs

Results of on-farm trials conducted by NSW DPI found feeding ewes a diet high in omega-3 could lead to a higher proportion of male lambs, while an increase in female lambs occurs when the bulk of the feed is omega-6.

Prime lamb producers using terminal sires typically prefer male lambs for their increased muscle accumulation and approximately 20% faster growth rate, therefore reaching a higher market weight in a shorter time than females.

Maternal first cross enterprises who preference breeding females, can return up to a $30-$50/head higher sale price at weaning.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) research has shown graziers can increase pasture growth, stocking rates and lamb production per hectare by 20 per cent or more by increasing grazing management intensity.

NSW DPI, in partnership with the Macquarie Sire Evaluation Association and the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association, has evaluated Merino sires suited to the cropping/sheep zone of central NSW. This has delivered information on an extensive list of both measured and visually assessed traits, as well as selection index values, that breeders and producers can use in selecting sires for use in breeding programs to improve profitability of Merino enterprises.

Download The Publication

Download the full publication which profiles the key drivers and provides statistics across a number of key primary industry sectors. Analysis of key factors for each industry will detail the impact on the GVP performance for each industry.