High prices dis­rupt cat­tle sup­ply chain

Countryman - - NEWS - Jenne Bram­mer

Record-high cat­tle prices have been a boon for pro­duc­ers but have caused re­cent ma­jor sup­ply chain dis­rup­tions sim­i­lar to the 2011 ban on live ex­ports to In­done­sia.

Speak­ing at the Pas­toral­ists and Gra­ziers As­so­ci­a­tion an­nual con­ven­tion, Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters’ Coun­cil chair­man Si­mon Crean said Aus­tralian cat­tle ex­ports had plunged by 26 per cent over the year to Au­gust.

He said high beef costs trig­gered In­done­sia, Aus­tralia’s largest mar­ket, to ex­pe­ri­ence sup­ply chain dis­rup­tion com­pa­ra­ble to 2011 — when the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment sus­pended live ex­ports be­cause of wel­fare con­cerns.

How­ever, high prices had also put a damp­ener on new busi­ness with China, made pos­si­ble af­ter the two coun­tries signed a his­toric deal in 2015.

“Since the his­toric first seabound slaugh­ter ship­ment of Aus­tralian cat­tle was ex­ported to China in Fe­bru­ary, high cat­tle prices have pre­vented fur­ther trade ac­tiv­ity be­cause im­porters of Aus­tralian red meat sim­ply haven’t been able to ab­sorb the pre­vail­ing high prices,” he said.

“But on the back of a more re­cent soft­en­ing of­cat­tle prices, Wel­lard’s an­nounce­ment re­cent of its first China ship­ment (from Vic­to­ria later in Oc­to­ber) is pos­i­tive news for cat­tle pro­duc­ers and an im­por­tant next step for the emerg­ing mar­ket.”

Mr Crean said to strengthen the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage of Aus­tralia’s brand and mit­i­gate the price im­pact, the in­dus­try must con­tinue its in­vest­ment in pro­duc­tiv­ity and in­fra­struc­ture.

“In WA, there is a need to im­prove the trans­port and lo­gis­tics,” he said.

“With five op­er­a­tional live ex­port ports (Fre­man­tle, Broome, Wyndham, Port Hed­land and Ger­ald­ton) and a huge live­stock catch­ment area, stream­lin­ing long-term port ac­cess in WA is a cru­cial chal­lenge,” he said.

The live ex­port trade con­trib­utes $2 billion to Aus­tralia’s $18 billion red meat sec­tor.

Jane McTag­gart and Julie Seabrook, wives of past PGA pres­i­dent Locky and cur­rent pres­i­dent Tony, at the con­ven­tion.

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