Australian Meat Processor Corporation

Australian Meat Processor Corporation


Learn about how beef, lamb and goat meat get from the paddock to your plate.

  • Map

    Click here to discover where Australian meat processors are located.

  • The Meat and Livestock Industry
    • There are approximately 29 million head of cattle, 70 million sheep and millions of bush goats in Australia.
    • Australia is one of the world’s most efficient producers of cattle and the world’s third largest exporter of beef.
    • Australia is also one of the world’s leading producers of lamb and mutton, the world’s largest exporter of mutton and the second largest exporter of lamb.
    • Australia is a relatively small producer of goat meat but is the world’s largest exporter of goat meat.

    Source: Meat and Livestock Australia 

    Learn about the meat and livestock industry.

  • Cattle, sheep and goats


    • Farmers have an attachment to their cattle, sheep and goats as they have often raised animals from birth and they know that healthy and well cared for stock also produce better quality, beef, lamb, mutton and goat meat. It is widely acknowledged that consumers want their red meat produced humanely and ethically. As such, Australian cattle, sheep and goat producers are recognised around the world for their animal husbandry and farm management techniques.

    The Product

    • Farmers can sell their cattle, sheep and goats to abattoirs to be processed in Australia for local and export markets.
    • They can also sell cattle, sheep and goats directly to other producers or feedlots. Cattle, sheep and goats can be sold by auction at saleyards, direct consignment or digital auctions.

    Looking after cattle, sheep and goats

    • Good animal welfare is not only vital from a moral and ethical perspective, but also for farmers and processors’ productivity, profitability and sustainability. To continually improve the well-being of Australia’s cattle, sheep and goats, the industry invests in research and development to provide tools and knowledge for farmers, transporters and processors.
    • Animal welfare research is undertaken on farms, at feedlots and at the processing sites of beef, lamb and goat meat.


    • Cattle, sheep and goats are transported to abattoirs and meat processing plants where they are unloaded from the truck, grouped in lots and placed in holding yards. All animals are inspected to make sure they are healthy and haven’t been injured during transport and are fit for processing.
    • Each year in Australia, livestock transporters carry nine billion head of cattle, sheep and goats from farms to abattoir
  • The Red Meat Industry
    • Around 200,000 people are employed in the Australian red meat industry, including on-farm production, transporters, processing and retail activities. 
    • Australian cattle, sheep and goat farmers, livestock transporters and processors value highly the health and wellbeing of their stock.
    • Farmers have an attachment to their cattle, sheep and goats, as they have often raised animals from birth and they know that healthy and well cared for stock also produce better quality, beef, lamb, mutton and goat meat. It is widely acknowledged that consumers want their red meat produced humanely and ethically. As such, Australian cattle, sheep and goat producers are recognised around the world for their animal husbandry and farm management techniques.
  • The Australian Meat Processing Industry
    • Australian Meat Processors and Butchers are passionate about delivering top quality, safe and nutritious products to the market. 
    • The Australian Meat Processing Sector is a world leader in processing beef, lamb and goat meat and processing plants employ the latest technologies to ensure superior levels of meat product. 
    • Australia has approximately 300 abattoirs (including boning rooms) with a workforce of around 34,000 people. The red meat processing industry is estimated to contribute just under $23 billion of value added to the Australian economy including flow-on impacts, equivalent to 1.5 percent of Australia’s Gross industry value added. It generates 134,000 jobs equivalent to 1.4 percent of full-time equivalent (FTE) employment when flow-on effects are taken into account. 
    • Source: Heilbron, S.G. 2016. Evaluating the Socio-economic benefit of the red meat processing industry in regional Australia, pages 14 and 20. (Unpublished)
    • Red Meat Processors trim and prepare the beef, sheep and goat carcases to specific standards. They grade the carcasses for colour, tenderness, fat, age, sex and bruising according to AUS-MEAT standards and weigh and brand each carcase. The weight is used to calculate how much farmers are paid. 
    • Meat Processors who work in abattoirs include Trimmers, Boners, Graders and Packers.
    • A ‘Trimmer’ skins, cleans, trims, dresses, hangs and prepares the beef, lamb or goat carcasses to specific standards.
    • Each carcass is cut in half and carefully chilled in the chiller room. The chiller room keeps the meat at the correct temperature to ensure the red meat is tender and fresh. 
    • After chilling, meat ‘Graders’, grade the beef, lamb and goat meat for colour, tenderness, fat, age, sex and any bruising on the meat. Each carcass is tagged by the ‘Graders’ to show the classification, the date of processing and the brand of meat, as well as the plant in which it was processed.
    • After chilling for at least 24 hours the ‘Boners’ cut the beef, lamb and goat meat into different cuts of meat or prepare the carcaseses to be sent to a butcher who will prepare the smaller cuts of meat.
    • Meat ‘Packers’ pack the varying cuts of beef, lamb and goat meat ready for sale and delivery to local, regional, interstate and overseas customers.
    • Red meat products are transported from the processing plant to butchers, wholesalers, restaurants and supermarkets, in refrigerated trucks. There are Australian Standards that must be followed during transportation to make sure that the red meat is kept hygenic for people to eat.
    • Red meat for export markets is packed into large refrigerated containers and delivered to ports and airports for transport overseas. 
    • Stringent food safety standards are applied by the Quality Assurance team to ensure the meat is hygienic to eat by consumers in Australia and overseas.
  • How much red meat do Australians eat?
    • Australians eat around 32.5kg of beef per person annually equating to approximately $6.6 billion.
    • Australians eat around 9.7kg of lamb annually equating to approximately $2 billion. 
    • Goat meat is the most widely consumed meat in the world and Australians are eating more of it. 



    • Australians eat around 32.5kg of beef per person annually equating to around $6.6 billion to Australia’s economy.
    • There are so many tasty and juicy beef cuts of meat...what’s your favourite? Check out the different Australian beef cuts of meat below.

    Prepare a Beef Burger

    Find more recipes here!



    • Australians eat around 9.7kg of lamb annually equating to around $2 billion to Australia’s economy.
    • There are so many tasty and juicy lamb cuts of meat...what’s your favourite?

    Check out the different Australian cuts of lamb here!

    Prepare a quick and healthy Easy Lamb Wrap.


    Goat Meat

    • Goatmeat is the most widely consumed meat in the world and Australians are eating more of it.

    Check out the different Australian cuts of goat meat here!

  • Meat Processing and the Environment

    The Australian meat processing industry is serious about environmental stewardship. The industry believes it has a duty to ensure that Australian red meat is produced, processed and distributed responsibly, while also remaining competitive and sustainable. The Australian meat processing industry has taken proactive steps to help ensure it carefully manages the nation’s precious environment and resources. In efforts to reduce the industry's environmental footprint, ongoing industry research and development is focused on the continuous improvement of overall productivity, waste minimisation, pollution prevention, the effects of climate change, and beneficial reuse of wastes. Projects underway include:

    1. A quantitative risk analysis of the impact of climate variability on the Australian red meat processing industry

    • This project aims to assess the risks and opportunities associated with climate variability for the red meat processing industry. It will identify the risks and opportunities, place them in a geographic context and assess their severity through frequency and intensity analysis. A backward scenario analysis will be undertaken to look at how climate extremes have impacted on the meat and livestock industry and how lessons from these events can inform climate change adaptation. The overall sustainability of the supply chain will thereby be gauged, and risk mitigation and adaptation strategies identified. Finally, the project will develop an information extension program to communicate the outcomes of the study.

    2. Investigating water and wastewater reuse and recycling opportunities while maintaining food safety at abattoirs

    • This project will take a broad, strategic look at the opportunities and constraints for improved water efficiencies at abattoirs using diverse water recovery options. It will provide a tool that will enable processors to evaluate raw water quality and end-use (river discharge, sewer discharge, irrigation or internal reuse as potable or non-potable water) applications of specific water treatment options and undertake cost-benefit analysis. When considering the benefits of water recycling, the quality of wastewater from existing treatment systems has a significant impact on additional treatment required to enable recycling. This influences the cost of further treatment and therefore the value proposition of water recycling. The proposed work builds on previous earlier research and investment by AMPC. Recent advances in technologies and operating strategies for water recycling have initiated the uptake of safe, economic solutions across many food and beverage industries. The meat processing industry, with its large water footprint, can potentially gain substantial economic and operational benefits, while not compromising food safety from such an approach.
  • Environment & Sustainability

    Energy, Waste and Water

    • Meeting strict food safety requirements to ensure market access is maintained means that energy and water are significant inputs into the processing sector. Energy for refrigeration and sterilisation of equipment is especially important, while water is used to hydrate and wash incoming stock, and to clean livestock carcasses, processing equipment and work areas. Compared to other agricultural sectors, the red meat industry is a significant consumer of water. 
    • From farm to plate it is estimated that grain-fed beef production takes approximately 100,000 litres of water for every kilogram of food produced. Raising chickens takes 3,500 litres of water to make a kilogram of meat. In comparison, soybean production uses 2,000 litres per kilogram of food produced; rice, 1,912; wheat, 900; and potatoes, 500 litres. Competition for what is an increasingly valuable and scare resource may either limit the availability of water for production or processing purposes, increase water access costs or lead to an increasing level of consumer and public concern over the amount of water used. While certain sections of the value chain are embracing water savings and water reuse strategies, estimates suggest only approximately 2 per cent of total water usage is reclaimed.
    • Animal waste is another serious concern. According to a CSIRO study, because only a third of the nutrients fed to animals are absorbed, animal waste is a leading factor in the pollution of land and water resources. Total phosphorous excretions are estimated to be seven to nine times greater than that of humans, with detrimental effects on the environment. A s a result, effluent must be discharged safely and processors face heavy fines for non-compliance with environmental laws. While regulatory measures around resource use impose significant compliance costs on the processing industry, they also underpin Australia’s reputation for a high standard of food safety and product integrity in its exports.

    Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    • Environmental issues pose both a challenge and opportunity for the Australian meat processing industry. The industry has tackled this challenge head-on and is making important progress in addressing these issues—especially in acknowledging and addressing water, energy and waste management and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 
    • Most of the industry’s GHG relate to emissions from effluent ponds. This provides meat processors with opportunities for emissions capture, destruction or use. Industry research is developing new and innovative technologies and management systems to mitigate and utilise GHG emissions. 
    • As well as GHG emissions, the industry is also addressing many other environmental issues proactively such as nutrient management, by-product reuse, alternative waste management and soil health.
    • The finding of an eight-year CSIRO investigation into the effects of the beef and dairy industries on Australia’s methane emissions has suggested that outputs from cattle in Australia are 24% lower than previously thought, amounting to a revised total of approximately 2.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
    • While this falls well behind energy and fuel sector outputs, agriculture remains the second largest greenhouse gas producer in the country. 

    A Changing Climate

    • Australia’s red meat processing sector has long functioned within the continent’s unique climate, geography, and incidence of extreme weather events. While such events impose significant costs, the industry has demonstrated resilience and a capacity to adapt. But the frequency and severity of extreme weather events and the underlying climate are changing. 
    • The impact and implications of these changes will vary along the red meat industry’s supply chain depending on location, timeframe, resilience and vulnerability. In some cases, climatic changes may bring opportunities. In other cases, such changes may bring risks beyond those experienced in the past, such as changes to feed distributions, increased disease and migration, impacts to transport of live animals, water scarcity and variations to energy costs.
    • The AMPC is working hard to raise awareness of Australia’s changing climate in our sector, investing in research that seeks to understand critical vulnerabilities in the value chain and investigating technology, infrastructure options and mitigation techniques to minimise the industry’s impact on the environment. 
  • Food Safety
    • Product integrity continues to be one of the most important aspects of Australian meat production and processing. The industry has quickly responded to growing consumer demand for top quality produce that is safe to eat. The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is a quality assurance program that allows producers and processors to demonstrate good practice using the principles of Hazard Analysis and managing Critical Control Points for management, food safety, animal welfare, bio-security and traceability. 
    • Australia’s meat processing industry is also leading the world in ensuring its meat products are fully traceable from paddock to plate. 
    • These systems help to ensure the integrity of the Australian meat supply chain which makes the Australian meat industry leaders in their field. 

    Source: Meat & Livestock Australia

  • Animal Welfare
    • Australian meat processors have the same concerns as the community when it comes to taking care of the livestock that arrive at their plants. 
    • Processors understand more than anyone that providing excellent care results in a contented animal that provides a high quality product—processors’ livelihoods depend on it.
    • Staff at plants are trained in animal welfare, husbandry and handling, so that the safety and comfort of the livestock is maintained. The industry invests millions of dollars each year to research new technologies and practices to improve animal welfare, and provide valuable education and training to industry personnel throughout Australia. Additionally, AMPC invests substantially in research to improve animal welfare alone.
    • The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Livestock third addition—(the Model Code)—is a guide that has been developed by the Australian government in consultation with all levels of industry, regulators, RSCPA and scientists, to detail the acceptable practice for the management of Livestock. It outlines all responsibilities involved in caring for livestock—including their housing, food, water and special needs.

    Source: Australian Government. Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (2016) 

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