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Abstract

Australia is the sixth largest producer of beef and the second largest exporter of beef. Average beef exports from Australia are approximately 65 per cent of the total amount of beef produced, about 1.3 million tonnes. Australia is particularly vulnerable to diseases that are not endemic to the country and could close or disrupt its export markets for beef. In this study, we construct a bioeconomic optimisation model of the Australian beef industry that captures production and consumption decisions, domestically and internationally, and the impacts on the beef industry of a potentially catastrophic disease, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). This study analyses localised to large-scale outbreaks and suggests that changes in economic surplus because of FMD range from a positive net gain of $57 million to a net loss of $1.7 billion, with impacts on producers and consumers varying depending on the location of the outbreak, control levels and the nature of any trade ban.

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