Australia's poultry and pig meat industries have seen a boost in 2011–2012, helped by higher prices for beef and lamb as well as improving productivity and relatively low feed costs, according to reports.

Per-capita poultry consumption is estimated to reach 45.2 kilograms in 2011–2012. While down on 2010–2011 levels, it’s well above 38 kilograms recorded in 2009–2010 and is expected to continue to grow to 45.5 kilograms in 2012–2013. “We’re seeing poultry farmers increase production to meet this rising demand, despite some farmers experiencing a rise in processing costs and concerns around the potential for grain prices to increase,” said Khan Horne, general manager of agribusiness for the National Australia Bank.

Real consumer prices for poultry have fallen 1.9 percent a year on average over the last decade. “In the medium term we’re likely to see a fall in consumer prices as domestic production increases,” said Horne.

In 2011–2012 per-capita consumption for pig meat is forecast to increase to 24.8 kilograms, slightly down on records but stable and set to incrementally increase, according to the bank. In the past ten years to 2010–2011, imports as a proportion of domestic consumption have grown from 15 percent to 48 percent. “The key challenge facing our pork industry over the years has been the increase in competition from imports, which led to a decline in Australian production,” said Horne.

In 2011 the industry broke its downward trend with Australian pig meat production increasing 1.7 percent, with further increases expected in 2012. “With an increase in demand we’re seeing an increase in production," said Horne. "Australian pig farmers are also now predominantly focused on the fresh pork market, where importers face greater restrictions."

Looking ahead, both industries are expected to maintain their competitiveness within the domestic meat market with a firm medium-term outlook.