If you are a beef producer in Queensland, you're most likely richer and producing more than your counterparts elsewhere in the country.
You're also more likely better placed to capitalise on the domestic and export opportunities on the horizon throughout the world where rising populations are getting steadily hungrier for affordable protein.
That's just one of the snapshots contained in MLA's mid-year projections document released last week, which was largely dominated by news that demand for beef has deteriorated both here and abroad, while supply of cattle is tipped to climb.
According to the data, beef producers in Northern Australia have experienced on average a more favourable year financially in terms of farm cash incomes and business profit, largely due to lower costs.
The good news comes despite ongoing concerns with Northern Australia's live export trade to Indonesia, still recovering from last year's trade ban to Indonesia and experiencing further setbacks through Indonesia's cuts to import quotas and tariff increases.
Live cattle exports to Indonesia are expected to fall a further 18 per cent to 570,000 head in 2012 - 40pc below the 2009 peak.
With that in mind, the preliminary estimate for average farm cash income in 2011-12 for the northern beef industry is $118,900 per farm, up 31pc on the previous year ($90,690 per farm), with total cash costs dropping 10pc on the previous year.
According to analysis from MLA chief economist Tim McRae, contributing to the decline in per farm cash costs in 2011-12 was a fall in beef cattle purchases, fodder, labour and interest costs.
And it seems the bigger you are the better you are performing, with figures segregated and applied according to herd size "small" (100-400 head), "medium" (400-1600 head), "large" (1600-5400 head) and "very large" (more than 5400 head).
The largest percentage increase in 2011-12 for northern beef farm cash incomes was for the "very large" beef enterprises.
Average farm cash incomes jumped 63pc on the previous year, to $636,200 per farm - a massive contrast from the drought-influenced result in 2009-10 of a $116,535 loss per farm.
Mr McRae said the main contributor to the higher cash income in 2011-12 was reduced costs, with expenditure on beef cattle purchases, fuel, labour and maintenance all lower on the previous two years.
Compared to the "very large" beef farms in Northern Australia, average farm cash income for "large" northern beef operations increased 9pc ($221,400 per farm), as "medium" ($92,700 per farm) and "small" ($35,200 per farm) farms incomes increased by 33pc and 53pc, respectively, albeit at much lower absolute values.
In contrast to northern beef farms, the average farm cash income for southern beef enterprises in 2011-12 is estimated to have declined 13pc on the previous year, to $81,600 per farm.
While both total cash receipts and costs slipped on last year, receipts declined by $40,840 per farm, while costs dropped by $29,040 per farm.
The main contributors to the decline in farm cash receipts for 2011-12 were beef cattle sales (due to lower numbers) and crop receipts, while the fall in costs was attributable to lower cattle purchases, interest and contract costs.
Northern Australia continues to be the engine room of the beef industry in terms of sheer number being produced and finished.
The combined total of Queensland and the Northern Territory cattle herds as at June 30 last year was 14.8 million head, or 52pc of the national herd the highest percentage on record and an increase of 1.8 million head or 13pc over the past decade.
This compares to 3pc growth nationally during the past decade, with a 6pc decline across the southern states.
Mr McRae said the much faster growth in the cattle herd for the past decade for Queensland and the Northern Territory has reflected rising cattle prices, productivity improvements, growth in the live export sector (at least until 2011), reliability of the wet season (and a string of drought years in the south) and lack of competition from other enterprises.
"While the current global economic weakness and a gradual increase in cattle supplies over the next 12 months will place some pressure on prices, the overall prospects remain essentially the same as those stated in the January overview - that Australia is among only a handful of major beef producing countries forecast to expand its beef production in 2012," Mr McRae said.
"This comes at a time when global demand for beef is expected to grow (principally in Asia, South America and the Middle East), with global beef prices tracking at historically high levels."
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