Live export absorbs 15 per cent of cattle turn off

Margot-Andre

Cattle Council CEO Margo Andrae.

CATTLE Council of Australia has welcomed the release of new research confirming the economic and social imperatives of the live cattle export industry and, specifically, its positive impact at the farmgate.

The report, undertaken by Mecardo and commissioned by LiveCorp and Meat & Livestock Australia, demonstrates that up to half of all live cattle export revenue is retained by the producer.

“Australia exports more than one million cattle to over 20 countries around the world each year, with a value of $1.2 billion,” Cattle Council CEO Margo Andrae said.

“This research is important because it gives us a clear understanding of the returns to the production sector, showing that that over $620 million of the industry’s average annual revenue is returned to the farmgate.”

Ms Andrae said the analysis was timely given drought was again putting pressure on the cattle market.

“As we are seeing again this year, producers are forced to de-stock when the season fails, and live export demand helps absorb the drought-driven supply of cattle not suitable for slaughter,” Ms Andrae said.

“Competition and diverse market options are always critical for producers, but during drought the way the live trade can put a floor in prices for lighter cattle and act as a relief valve in the market absolutely crucial.”

The report confirmed that during the 2014/15 drought when producers were aggressively de-stocking and slaughter levels were at capacity, live export absorbed 15pc of the national cattle turnoff – up to 7pc above the trade’s historic market share.

Ms Andrae said that whatever the seasonal situation, the ongoing national importance of the livestock export industry was clear.

“The trade provides employment for 10,000 Australians, including more than 2000 on-farm jobs,” she said.

“On cattle properties in the Northern Territory and north-west Western Australia where properties are heavily reliant on live export, indigenous employment accounts for 10-15pc of the workforce. This is significant because other employment options are limited.”

The analysis highlighted that between 40-57pc of live cattle revenues are retained by the producer.

“This income allows producers to invest in developing new water points and upgrading yards and other infrastructure. It promotes good animal welfare and boosts on-farm productivity and profitability,” Ms Andrae said.

“Modern improvements and the technology being embraced by producers – only possible because of the income they receive for their cattle – reflects the care producers have for their livestock, because good animal welfare is good business practice.”

To view the key highlights of the analysis and to download the full report, click here.

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