China’s beef hunger a new era for North
IF CHINA only takes a smallish percentage of cattle from Northern Australia, the region, regardless, is standing at the dawn of a golden age for beef production.
As one exporter points out, even if China doesn’t take huge numbers of our Brahmans, the North will still be needed to supply cattle into the vacuum created around Australia by the exodus of domestic livestock to the nation of 1.3 billion people.
We still don’t know just how many Bos indicus or Brahman- cross cattle the Chinese might take from the tropical North.
The Chinese cattle buyers are said to be sensitive about the presence of bluetongue disease, which is prevalent across the North and in parts of NSW. Scientists say our bluetongue is non- contagious and does not cause disease in cattle.
Perhaps Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill, a scientist with a double major in microbiology and biochemistry, is right when she says the Chinese are only using bluetongue to leverage down prices in their favour.
The drought will play a part and will create ongoing supply problems for years to come as producers rebuild depleted herds.
Still, there is no need for panic. China watchers say the country’s demand for beef will be slow and steady and that Northern Australia’s beef herd will grow as demand from Asia increases. Patience will be required. As the Chinese say, “dripping water pierces a stone”.