Australia’s tallow exports reached a record value of more than $1bn in the 2022/23 financial year, the country’s Department of Agriculture was quoted as saying by ABC News.

Tallow production had reached record levels in Australia – now the world’s leading exporter of the animal by-product – with demand being driven by the biofuels industry rather than the food sector, the 3 February report said.

According to Australian Renderers Association (ARA) figures, the country produced 550,000 tonnes of tallow last year, 450,000 tonnes of which were exported.

The US and Singapore biofuels industries received 90% of Australian tallow exports, with China and South Korea also taking a small percentage, the report said.

“In the USA, there’s been a growing industry converting tallow into petrol, diesel and jet fuel substances,” Australia meat and livestock analyst Tim Jackson was quoted as saying.

Prices were also surging, reflecting the high demand, Jackson added.

After peaking at US$2,500/tonne in the 2022/23 financial year, international tallow prices remained above historical averages at US$2,000/tonne at the time of the report.

Domestic tallow prices were currently “double or triple the historic norm” at US$1,900/tonne, Jackson said.

“While the prices are volatile … they’ve stayed substantially higher than we’ve seen before,” he added.