AUSTRALIAN cattle exporters are preparing to re-enter the Mexican market for the first time since 2008 following the finalisation of a Mexico-Australia breeder protocol.
Updated on April 20, the protocol sets out the conditions for Australian breeder cattle to be exported to Mexico, including compulsory animal health measures and traceability in accordance with the National Livestock Identification System.
It also works on the basis of Australia’s disease status for the likes of Foot and Mouth Disease, as well as Australia’s classification by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as being a country of negligible risk for BSE.
Landmark International Group general manager Andy Ingle said his company was working with a longstanding Mexican customer to prepare a consignment of 7000 quality beef breeding heifers destined for Mexico.
The consignment, consisting of cattle source from Victoria, South Australia and southern NSW, is loading at Portland, Victoria this week.
“Mexico was a major buyer of dairy cattle from Australia from 2000 until about eight years ago, but this will be the first shipment of Australian livestock to be prepared for Mexico since 2008,” Mr Ingle said.
“The Mexican beef herd has reduced in a number of regions due to drought conditions from 2010 to 2014 and in recent years, good seasons and an excess of grass has seen a need to try to rebuild numbers,” he said.
“With the re-establishment of the protocol, we feel there are strong opportunities in the future for Australian cattle to be exported to various areas of the Mexico with a focus on beef herd re-population projects.”
Mr Ingle said that the Mexican market was suitable for all beef cattle breeds, although different regions in Mexico preferred particular types of cattle based on their geography and climate.
Livestock exporters and industry service provider Livecorp are now turning their attention to working with the Australian Government and Mexican authorities on the establishment of the feeder cattle protocol, in addition to the breeder protocol.
In recent years Mexico has established significant lotfeeding capacity, both for domestic consumption, and export of grainfed beef into the US.
Beef production in Mexico in 2015 was up 6pc compared to five years ago. Continued liquidation of the cattle herd has been the key driver behind the increase in production, although Mexican producers also have benefited from heavier cattle weights – partly due to more lotfeeding activity.
Strong demand from export markets has supported cattle/beef prices in Mexico. The average beef price in 2015 was 66.18 peso per kilogram, 10pc higher than a year ago and 81pc higher than five years ago.
Chilled and frozen beef exports to the US last year totaled about 135,000 tonnes, 27pc higher than the previous year. The US accounted for 87pc of all Mexico’s beef exports last year.