Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cattle exports to China could start in 2014

The West Australian based agribusiness Wellard Group has expanded its exports into China and believes it may start shipping live feeder and slaughter cattle there within five to six months.

The company air freighted more than 1,200 dorper rams and ewes from WA, Victoria and South Australia and has also shipped its first container of frozen mutton to China.

This follows the export accreditation of its abattoir Beaufort River Meats at Woodanilling, 60 kilometres east of Katanning in WA's Great Southern.

Wellard already has a presence in China as an exporter of high performance dairy heifers from Australia and New Zealand.

Mauro Balzarini is the CEO of the Wellard Group.

He says the rams and ewes took a 15 hour first class flight from Perth to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, for breeding purposes.

Mr Balzarini says the market has great potential.

"I guess that we can probably do about one shipment every two or three months, so four or five shipments initially and then ramp up the numbers.

"They were a fairly expensive animal because we only select the best breeding stock we can put out hands on."

Mauro Balzarini believes Australia is just months away from sending its first shipment of live cattle to China.

"First of all we want to make sure there will be an OIE standard for all the animals that we send to China so through the ESCAS system and we are working on that in China at the moment.

"And yes we are developing specific assets in China where we can take maximum advantage both in terms of animal welfare and commercial return as well.

"We are looking at maybe five or six months (before the first shipment of Australian cattle to China) and I hope that all the stakeholders involved and the governments and the Department of Agriculture and AQIS work hard to make sure that it happens."

"Frankly speaking, the China prospect can open up a different type of market as well and if you are an importer in China now we are probably one of the most beautiful girls in the room to marry."

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