Grazier sets sights on a new Gladstone processing plant
MONTO grazier Bruce Burnhams’ first ever cattle drive was to Gladstone meat works when he was five-years-old. But the farmer of 66 years has had little reason to visit the coastal town since the meatworks closed in 1962, although that could all be about to change as grazier Leo Neill-Ballantine sets his sights on meat processing in Gladstone once again.
Following a series of signed free trade agreements, Mr Neill-Ballantine thinks a new Gladstone meatworks is exactly what the region
needs to make the most of beef export opportunities.
“Central Queensland has got more cattle than any other region in Australia and Gladstone has the second biggest port in the country. There’s a lot of potential, although we have a lot of miles and homework to do yet,” he said.
North Burnett beef producers send cattle to Teys meatworks at Biloela or Rockhampton, or JBS at Rockhampton or Dinmore to be processed.
Monto’s Mr Burnham said having another processor in the game would only benefit local farmers.
“We only have two big meatworks competing for (our cattle at the sales) right now,” he said.
“As soon as supply catches up with demand the price will fall. Having another meatworks means demand will take longer to meet, so prices are better.
“It would certainly be a great advantage to be able to process and export meat from Gladstone.”
Monto farmer James Sinclair agreed having another buyer at the cattle sales would be a great thing for this region.
“It would definitely stabilise prices and could make prices more competitive,” he said.
There’s a lot of potential.