Live cattle shipments to China set to sail

Exporters suggest Chinese demand for live cattle for immediate processing could see up to 150,000 shipped from southern Australia in 2017, and more next year.

 Exporters suggest Chinese demand for live cattle for immediate processing could see up to 150,000 shipped from southern Australia in 2017, and more next year.

Australia’s first seabound live cattle shipments to Chinese meatworks are expected to be on the water within weeks.
The breakthrough follows the first few air freighted consignments in 2015 and 2016 when farm services company Elders opened the new live export market, followed by Ruralco’s Frontier International.
Elders’ North Australia Cattle Company (NACC) is now sourcing up to 1600 Angus cattle for departure from Victoria by late January or early February bound for northern China.
West Australian-based exporter, Wellard, is also poised to start regular shipments of slaughter cattle to a northern China abattoir specifically rebuilt to meet strict protocols for cattle sourced from Australia only.
Four Australian exporters are understood to have Australian government approval to send stock to China under the Exporter Supply chain Assurance System (ESCAS).
Wellard, which confirmed it has submitted several different China market ESCAS applications, is understood to be looking at an initial shipment of up to about 3000 yearling cattle from south-eastern Australia, also likely to be sailing from Portland in Victoria.
Regular Wellard shipments are expected to grow to about 6000 or more, with the big exporter aiming to run its livestock ships Ocean Outback and Ocean Swagman to China at least monthly by year’s end.
The Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) is anticipating future stock for the China trade will depart from Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and even NSW if loading and holding infrastructure, plus water and feed delivery facilities, are set up.
Ships leaving a NSW berth at Port Kembla would shave valuable sailing time from the 28-day journey from southern Australia.

Exporters suggest Chinese demand for live cattle for immediate processing could see up to 150,000 shipped from southern Australia in 2017, and more next year.

Livestock exporter Wellard says once the slaughter cattle trade to China is up and running it is expected Chinese consumers will quickly become an important market for Australian exporters, alongside Indonesian and Vietnamese buyers.

British or European breed cattle in “finished” condition, weighing about 450 to 500 kilograms are on the Chinese processor’s menu.
Trade protocols exclude cattle from most northern production zones where bluetongue virus activity has been identified, including NSW’s northern coastal regions, most of Queensland and the Northern Territory, and WA’s Top End.
However northern stock may still be sent to China after longer pre-departure quarantine periods in southern states.
Wellard business development manager, Scott Braithwaite said the live slaughter cattle trade to China would start with modest numbers to test the new receival and processing infrastructure and systems.
“The large potential of the China live cattle trade means we have to get things absolutely right from the start,” he said.
“Once it is up and running, I expect China will quickly become an important market alongside Indonesia and Vietnam.
“It will also give southern cattle producers access to an additional marketing alternative.”
Elders has been working towards its first shipment for six months, but the deal could be the last livestock shipment made by NACC under Elders ownership.
Managing director, Mark Allison said the company’s plans to sell its livestock shipping business, announced last September, were “well advanced”.
The sale was close to being concluded with an overseas buyer involved in the livestock trade.
“It’s rather fitting that Elders, a pioneer in the Australian live export industry many years ago, was also the first to fly slaughter cattle into China and will be taking the first shipload to China,” he said.
“It will mark the final chapter in our ownership of NACC livestock shipping business, but we expect to be regularly sourcing more cattle for the China market.”  
Mr Allison said Elders had been a keen advocate of the Chinese market for Australian cattle as well as chilled beef and lamb, and was proud to have helped open the trade.
Elders’ processed beef sales to China last year made new inroads as its branded beef marketing business Elders Fine Foods opened offices in three more cities (now six), as well as a new Indonesian office in Bali.
It’s Killara Angus beef brand has just been launched to the high end restaurant market in Jakarta, and in Vietnam.
Australia exported 917,000 feeder and slaughter cattle to numerous destinations in the 11 months to November last year, primarily from northern Australia.
That included 338 feeder and slaughter cattle air freighted to China.
The live trade was down slightly on the previous year because of the high cost of sourcing stock in current markets.
ALEC chief executive officer, Simon Westaway, said new supply chains for feeder-slaughter cattle opening up in China were set to re-boot export numbers, adding significant value to the export industry and provide extra marketing options for cattle producers.
Meanwhile, Wellard has been filling an order for 5000 dairy heifers destined for Sri Lanka as part of a renewed contract to supply 20,000 dairy cattle and technical management services to the Sri Lankan government.
About 3000 breeders are likely to be sourced from mostly NSW, South Australia and Victoria and the remainder from New Zealand.

The story Cattle shipments to China set to sail first appeared on Farm Online.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s