North­ern beef primed for bumper year

Pilbara News - - News - Glenn Cord­ing­ley

North West pas­toral­ists are poised for a bumper sea­son on the back of good rains, higher beef prices and main trad­ing part­ner In­done­sia set to buy more cat­tle.

In ad­di­tion to live ex­ports, 2017 will be the first full year of op­er­a­tion for Jack Bur­ton’s Kim­ber­ley Meat Com­pany be­tween Broome and Derby.

The pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity will pro­vide an im­por­tant ad­di­tional mar­ket for re­gional pro­duc­ers whose cat­tle do not meet live ex­port spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

Pre­vi­ously, the only op­tion was to truck the an­i­mals to abat­toirs in the south of the State.

Kim­ber­ley Pil­bara Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man David Stoate said sen­ti­ment from re­gional sta­tions was gen­er­ally pos­i­tive af­ter an “ex­cel­lent” wet sea­son.

He said 2016 was dif­fi­cult with be­low-av­er­age rain in most ar­eas, and fol­lowed a “medi­ocre” 2015.

But Mr Stoate, who runs Anna Plains Sta­tion, 250km south of Broome, said the tide ap­peared to be turn­ing in the run-up to rain­de­layed mus­ter­ing as pas­toral­ists looked to cap­i­talise on last year’s im­proved prices.

“Re­turns im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly last year which has en­cour­aged in­vest­ment in the in­dus­try and gen­er­ated op­ti­mism for the sec­tor,” he said.

But he was not ex­pect­ing more than the av­er­age 100,000 head of cat­tle to be ex­ported re­gion­ally.

“There may be some herd re­build­ing,” he said.

“The ex­port sea­son may com­mence a lit­tle later than usual with the wet­ter than nor­mal con­di­tions mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to ac­cess many prop­er­ties and get cat­tle out.”

Mr Stoate said the re­cent an­nounce­ment from the In­done­sian Gov­ern­ment to in­crease its beef im­ports, and in­crease the weight limit on Aus­tralian cat­tle to 450kg, in­di­cated a com­mit­ment to sourc­ing pro­tein from Aus­tralia and north­ern re­gions.

Picture: Robert Dougherty

Kim­ber­ley pas­toral­ist Jack Bur­ton at his beef pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity.

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