Abat­toir clo­sure to hit niche farms

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

THE clo­sure of the Cradoc abat­toir could spell the end for sev­eral small live­stock pro­duc­ers in the Huon Val­ley.

The Huon Val­ley Meat Com­pany, which runs the abat­toir, two butcher shops and a small­go­ods fac­tory, is to close by the end of the year.

The com­pany pro­cesses stock for its out­lets along with ser­vice kills for other pro­duc­ers and niche busi­nesses.

Luke Tren­grove, who runs pigs at Glen Huon, feared he would have to call time if the abat­toir closes.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing, un­less some­one takes over the abat­toir we will be shut­ting up shop,” Mr Tren­grove said.

“It feels like a kick in the guts, but we have to be re­al­is­tic and busi­ness decisions are made. Let’s hope some­one takes it over.”

Mr Tren­grove’s White Grove Farm fo­cuses on Wes­sex Sad­dle­back pigs grown slowly to max­imise flavour and to min­imise fat.

“Sending the an­i­mals a long dis­tance to be pro­cessed is not what we set out to do to our live­stock. It’s not a vi­able op­tion for me to send my pigs to Devon­port for pro­cess­ing.”

Ev­ery fort­night White Grove Farm sends about three to six pigs to Cradoc, with the Devon­port works the only other op­tion for pigs.

Rex Wil­liams from Kelty Farm, an or­ganic en­ter­prise at Wood­bridge, said the sit­u­a­tion with the abat­toir had caused a cash flow short­age for his busi­ness.

“The clo­sure will have a dra­matic ef­fect on our busi­ness. The Cradoc abat­toir is a crit­i­cal part of our oper­a­tion,” Mr Wil­liams said.

The farm pro­duces Black An­gus beef, free range Berk­shire and Wes­sex Sad­dle­back pigs and grows or­ganic fruit.

“Any pro­cess­ing of our live­stock has ef­fec­tively stopped for us, but the abat­toir is con­tin­u­ing with tra­di­tional kills,” Mr Wil­liams said.

“We are anx­ious some­one will take on the abat­toir.”

Mr Wil­liams said his cus­tomers were dis­ap­pointed about the pos­si­ble demise of the abat­toir and the im­pact on his live­stock.

“For the mo­ment our stock are get­ting fat­ter.”

Clos­ing Cradoc will leave Gretna Qual­ity Meats north of Ho­bart as the sole com­mer­cial abat­toir in the state’s South.

Gretna operator Michael Mun­ning said his oper­a­tion was go­ing along well.

He be­lieves some­one will take on the Cradoc works and keep it run­ning.

“How­ever, if it doesn't stay open we can take pri­vate stock for pro­cess­ing,” Mr Mun­ning said.

James Lord, who owns Huon Val­ley Meat Com­pany, hopes a new buyer might take on the busi­ness. The com­pany em­ploys 15 peo­ple.

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