Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Meat processing facility offers economic benefits in the north

An independent report commissioned by the Australian Agricultural Company Limited (AAco) signals enormous benefits to local industry from the Livingstone Valley food processing facility.

The report, by respected economic consulting firm ACIL Tasman, shows the average cattle producer could double their profitability by selectively sending older cull culls from their herds to the abattoir.

The selective removal of cull cows allows pastoralists to improve their herd profile in terms of age profile and fertility.

The facility also has broader economic benefits, with the impact on the northern economy calculated to be $126 million a year once fully operational.

The facility will create more than 800 direct and indirect full time equivalent jobs, including 270 at the plant itself.

Report author Mark Barber said northern beef producers presently have no regional market for cows surplus to requirements, or which are no longer productive (cull cows).

The 350kg live weight cap on live export cattle to Indonesia also means that there is no regional market for heavy steers and bulls.

“By providing a regional market for cull cows, the impact of the AAco abattoir on the profitability of northern beef producers is substantial,” Mr Barber said.

“This is because older cows can be sold and younger more robust and fertile cows retained in the herd. This reduces the mortality rate of the herd and increases the number of calves produced.”

AAco is moving ahead with its plans for the facility, with the first tenders in market now for civil works at the Livingstone Valley site.

AAco General Manager Northern Australian Beef Stewart Cruden said the purchase of the land had been completed and the company is finalising the conditions precedent in the Government’s development and environmental approval documentation.

The company plans to process 179,000 cattle a year at full production, with box beef exported by refrigerated containers to the US, Asia and Europe.

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