CANBERRA, Australia – Australian beef and veal exports to the United States are forecast to jump 35 percent to 360,000 tonnes, the country's highest annual volume since 2004–05, the Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics and Rural Sciences (ABARES) reported.

In a quarterly agriculture production report, the agency noted that demand from the United States drove higher Australian beef and veal export volumes in the first four months of the 2014-2015 season. During the period, the US accounted for 35 percent of total Australian beef and veal exports compared to 19 percent in the comparable year-ago period.

“Higher US import demand for beef and veal is being driven by the widening gap between demand for manufacturing beef and domestic cow beef production, which is declining as a result of a significant fall in cow slaughter,” ABARES said in its report . “Also, following prolonged drought conditions, US cattle numbers are the lowest since the early 1950s. As a result, US cow slaughter is not expected to increase in the short term, so cow beef production will remain low and demand for manufacturing beef imports strong.”

ABARES forecast total exports of beef from Australia to climb 4 percent to 1.18 million tonnes in the 2014-2015 season.