Beef Central Briefs 7 March 2014

Beef Central, 07/03/2014

Vic alpine grazing trial approved

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt yesterday announced that has approved the Victorian Government's application to trial cattle grazing in the Wonnangatta Valley, subject to 33 strict conditions. 60 adult equivalent cattle will be allowed in the Wonnangatta Valley in the first limited trial period and up to 300 may be introduced in the two subsequent trial periods, subject to further approval. The research trial is limited to 262 hectares of land within the boundaries of the former Wonnangatta Cattle Station. The site was a grazing property for well over 100 years. Mr Hunt said strict measures to contain the cattle have been imposed, including temporary electric fencing and a requirement that stock must be supervised by experienced cattlemen at all times. The first trial is expected to begin shortly and run until the end of May. The trial will compare the effectiveness and impacts of livestock grazing regimes. After the first trial, the Victorian Government must undertake further surveys for threatened species and communities, and an assessment of Aboriginal cultural heritage and national heritage, for approval before any cattle can be introduced again. The Government limited the time that cattle may be present in the Wonnangatta Valley from between 1 January to 31 May each year which is outside the flowering season of nationally protected species. “In making this decision I have taken into consideration public comments received,” Mr Hunt said. “This trial is significantly different to the plan considered by the previous Labor Government in 2011, which proposed a total of 39,738 hectares be utilised for alpine grazing.” Further information on the decision is available at:


Police investigate NQ stock shooting

Charters Towers Stock Squad are seeking assistance regarding four head of cattle that were shot and killed about 22kms North of Pentland on the Pentland–Gregory Springs Road. The cattle are believed to have been shot between February 10-19. Police are seeking assistance from members of the public who may have any information regarding the matter. This includes any vehicles of interest they may have seen on the road or dates and times that they may have noticed the dead cattle. Please forward any information to the Charters Towers Police station 4788 2555 , Crime Stoppers or Police Link.

RSPCA concerned about China livex plans

The RSPCA says it has significant concerns about live export industry plans  has greeted the plans to open up a new export market for beef cattle to China with significant concern. The RSPCA‘s view is that expansion into new markets should not be considered unless there is a clear understanding of that country’s capacity to meet animal welfare standards. That includes a full and transparent audit of compliance with basic international (OIE) animal welfare standards and the capacity of that country to comply with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System. The animal welfare group says previous industry analyses of animal welfare arrangements in importing countries have been withheld from public scrutiny, resulting in export markets being opened up in multiple countries that fall far short of OIE standards. “It was this attitude of secrecy that led to the situation exposed in Four Corners in 2011, where Australian animals were subjected to horrific treatment in Indonesia,” the RSPCA said in a statement this week. “If arrangements in China can meet Australian animal welfare standards, then those commercial parties involved should produce evidence of this before these arrangements go any further.”


NFF urges Senate support for Carbon Tax repeal

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has reinforced the need to repeal the Carbon Tax, reiterating the case that it imposes costs on Australian farmers that puts the agricultural sector’s competitive position at risk. As momentum builds for the case to repeal the tax in the Senate, NFF President, Mr Brent Finlay yesterday spoke out the impacts of a carbon price on agriculture. “Even with agriculture’s direct emissions excluded from the scheme, the imposts on industry have impacted on the sector’s ability to compete in international and domestic markets as strongly as it otherwise would have. More concerning, it jeopardises the industry’s ability to remain competitive into the future. Agriculture remains a heavily-affected sector due to the flow-on costs allocated to transport and electricity, and by the pass-through costs from agricultural processors. The Carbon Tax is an example of more bureaucracy imposed on the Australian agriculture industry. In many senses, it is unnecessary,” Mr Finlay said. Farmers were at the frontline of delivering environmental outcomes on behalf of the Australian community, owning, managing and caring for 61 percent of Australia’s land mass. “Australian farmers have led the way in emissions reductions without the Carbon Tax,” Mr Finlay said. “Using appropriate incentives enables farmers to be rewarded for carbon mitigation practices undertaken on farm. If the Carbon Tax is not repealed, industry will increasingly bear the burden and this will inevitably impact on the broader economy.”


WA producer Forum set for April

Plans are currently under way for a sheep and cattle Producer Forum in Kojonup on April 1.  Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Cattle Council, Sheepmeat Council, WA Beef Council, WA Sheep Industry Leadership Council in conjunction with producer groups including WAFarmers and PGA will be meeting to speak about a variety of issues including market access. There will be guest speakers on live export, market access, research and development, explanations on how levies are spent, and opportunities for producers to provide feedback. Topics will include: Overview of the cattle and sheepmeat industry structure; MLA On-Farm Research and Development; Trade and Market Access; Update from the Australian Livestock Exporters Council; Open panel Q&A session featuring keynote speakers. The forum will be held at ‘Hyfield’ on Bell Road, Kojonup for 9:30am registration and morning tea followed by a 10am start. It is a free event, and registration.


Producer input sought for Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper

Producers across Australia still have the opportunity to provide feedback to the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper process recently launched by Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce. When released later this year, the White Paper will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to engage with the Federal Government on strategies aimed at promoting economic growth, exports, employment and investment in the Australian agricultural sector.  To this end, the Issue Paper seeks comment on the following nine key issues: Ensuring food security in Australia and globally; Improving farm gate returns; Enhancing access to finance; Increasing the sector's competitiveness and its value chain; Enhancing agriculture's contribution to regional communities; Improving the competitiveness of input costs; Reducing ineffective regulations; Enhancing agricultural exports; and Assessing the effectiveness of incentives for investment and job creation. The Federal Government has identified agriculture, and in particular agricultural exports, as being one of the "five pillars" of its economic growth policy aimed at shifting Australia's reliance on mining exports. Submissions on the Issues Paper close on 17 April, 2014.  It is expected that a Green Paper will be released in the first half of 2014 seeking further submissions. The White Paper is expected to be released in the last quarter of 2014. To access the Issues Paper, please click here.


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