Australia, the world’s second- largest beef exporter, may have the largest cattle herd in 32 years by the end of 2010 as pasture conditions improve, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service said.

The herd may jump 2.3 percent to 28.455 million head from an estimated 27.815 million at the end of this year, Mike Darby, an agricultural specialist for the Foreign Agricultural Service, wrote in a report on the agency’s Web site.

“The Australian continent is experiencing improved seasonal conditions following prolonged and severe drought, which began in 2002,” Darby said. Australia “will see a return to herd rebuilding with producers retaining stock from slaughter for breeding purposes.”

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