Brahman heifers take flight

Brahman heifers take off

WHILE there's little movement of live cattle on ships bound for Indonesia, 199 stud Brahman heifers have been flown direct to the archipelago in comparative style and comfort in a 747.

The heifers from Bunda Station in the Northern Territory left Darwin in the early hours of Sunday morning for a new life in an Indonesian government breeding program.

The cattle's owner, Reg Underwood, spent most of the night working with his stud master Brent McCarthy to load the cattle into specialised crates, six at a time before clearance by two AQIS vets supervising loading and take-off. Mr McCarthy then accompanied the special cargo on the successful three-and-a-half hour flight to Jakarta before joining them for acclimatisation at their new home in southern Sumatra.

The heifers will form part of a nucleus herd that will produce high quality offspring to seed genetic improvement in the region.

Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association president David Warriner, who was at the load-in said he understood why eyebrows have been raised over the decision to send breeding stock to Indonesia, when the Indonesian government's self-sufficiency goals are said to be hurting the live export trade.

"That is understandable, however you only have to spend some time in Indonesia and understand the enormous economic and social development that is driving accelerated demand for protein and seriously challenging local production capacity," he said.

"While there is currently a reduced quota for live cattle and beef from Australia, we believe that there will be ample room for Indonesian growth in production, and Australian exports of live cattle and beef in the longer term."

AACo beefs up

BIG beef producer Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) has won the Agribusiness Award at The Premier of Queensland's Export Awards.

The title recognises outstanding export achievement in the field of agricultural products, services or technology and the forestry, fisheries and fibres industries.

Managing director David Farley said AACo was proud to be recognised for significant achievements in growing its exports, both in volume and in new markets. AACo's export sales climbed to almost $100 million last trading year - a 10pc increase on the previous year, and a seven-fold increase from 2005.

Buffalo boom

THE world is awash with cheap meat.

That's the story out of the US Department of Agriculture this week, which forecasts India's bovine (buffalo meat) exports have risen from 609,000 in 2009 to an expected 2,160,000 tonnes in 2013. This would make the country by far the world's leading beef exporter.

The figures formed the basis of a report released by agribusiness financier Rabobank, which observed that if you take India's buffalo out of the equation, then world beef production remains in free fall, a trend the bank expects to continue. High world meat prices are encouraging India's farmers to utilise unproductive animals from the country's large dairy herd, for which Rabobank forecasters expect continued growth.

Rabobank has been handing out the free advice of late. Beef analyst Sarah Sivyer was in Central Queensland earlier this week delivering three key messages to producers about the changing dynamics overseas, with the Japan and Korea markets subdued, the US surging and India muscling in on our emerging emerging markets. Ms Sivyer's trip follows the visit last week by Rabobank's Chicago-based feed grains analyst David Nelson.

Support live ex rally

COOL heads are being asked to prevail at a planned support live export rally at East Fremantle, WA on Sunday. The expected throng is likely to come into contact with another rally - this one calling for the live ex trade to be banned - after more damning footage of animal cruelty in our Middle East sheep markets was shown on Australian television last week. Organisers of the support live ex rally are urging anyone looking for a stoush not to turn up, as the last thing the the industry needs right now is more ugly scenes on the nightly news. The rally kicks off at Merv Cowan Park from 9am WST. Less noisy but just as robust, Cattle Council of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia also held their AGMs in Fremantle this week.

Live export welfare disaster

A DARWIN vet who spent 22 years as a researcher for NT DPI and studied cow death rates on large stations in the late 80s pre large scale live export is doing his bit to promote the message that live export is integral to maintaining cattle welfare welfare both here and in Indonesia.

"The Australian public needs to understand that stopping live export will result in the biggest man-made animal welfare disaster in Australia's history," Gehan Jayawardhana wrote to media (and anyone else who would listen) this week.

"If live export is ever phased out without a viable alternative market being available (when they existed, meatworks in north Australia used to pay half the price), producers will be unable to afford supplementation or a second round weaning muster. This will lead to an annual 9 per cent extra cow death rate in the roughly 2.5 million cows in the live export zone. That is an additional 225,000 cows and most of their calves dying an unnecessary death.

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