Abattoir closure to hit niche farms
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.