Australia's pork production in marketing year 2010-2011 will stay largely unchanged at around 329,000 metric tons, attendees heard at the Outlook 2010 Conference of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).

But this annual output is projected to increase to 338,000 metric tons by 2014-2015 as producers respond to better pig prices and more favorable feed grain costs.

Given that imports now account for about 50% of all pork consumed in Australia, the other forecast receiving close attention locally is that 148,000 tons of pig meat will be imported in 2010-2011, up by 4% from the level in 2009-2010.

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Australian Pork Limited estimates that around 70% of the processed pig meat entering local consumption is currently sourced from imports. The processed pork sector accounts for around 60% of total pig meat sales.

Analysts told Outlook 2010 that, as the domestic pig industry focused increasingly on the fresh pork market, the overall market influence of the imports would depend on the extent to which consumers accepted processed meat as a substitute for fresh. They said that Australian pork imports will likely increase only slightly over the medium term, to reach 151,000 metric tons by 2014-2015.