Beef Central news briefs Feb 8

Beef Central, 08/02/2012


Increase to EU grainfed quota one step closer

A proposed EU concession on importing beef under the grain-fed HQB quota has been approved by the EU Parliament’s International Trade Committee. This clears the way for a full Parliament vote on March 13 to raise the quota to 48,200 tonnes, up from the current 20,000t. The quota increase was agreed in 2009 in bilateral conciliation talks and memoranda of understanding already concluded with the US and Canada. Australia exported 4225t of grainfed beef to the EU in 2011, up from 13t in 2009. An increase in quota allocation would provide Australian producers with further opportunity to export high quality grainfed beef to the high value EU market.


Vale Peter Barnes

Well known beef industry identity Peter Barnes passed away last week, aged 84. Mr Barnes was managing director of James Barnes Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s major post-war meat canners, in an era when the canning of meat for export was a large business. He was chairman of the Australian Meat Exporters Federal Council from 1971 to 1973. The original James Barnes cannery was at Waterloo in Sydney but in the early 1970s, with the help of the NSW State Government, relocated to a brand new canning plant at Wagga Wagga in central NSW. The plant was sold to Angliss in 1989 before being sold by Angliss as Southern Country Foods in 1996 to its current owner, Heinz Wattie. Mr Barnes will be remembered for his considerable contribution to the Australian meat processing industry.


CEO role at WAMMCO

New Zealander Coll MacRury has been reappointed as chief executive of Western Australia’s WAMMCO meat processing cooperative. He replaces Scott Weir, who had been in the chair for six months, as part of cost-cutting and consolidation measures by the processor. In January 2011, Mr MacRury took on the managing director’s role of WAMMCO’s then recently acquired Goulburn processing plant. The company hopes the restructure, which included making Mr Weir’s position redundant, will bring the co-operative’s operations in NSW and WA closer.


UK beef and lamb consumption falls in 2011

Household purchases of both beef and lamb declined in the UK during 2011, the combined result of higher retail prices, tighter supplies and trend towards consumers’ favouring cheaper protein products. For 2011, UK lamb purchases and expenditure decreased year-on-year, back 20pc and 7pc respectively, surveys suggest, with increased exports and lower imports reducing the availability of lamb on the domestic market. Contributed to by the tighter availability and subsequent high retail prices, in particular in comparison to pork and chicken, consumers also moved towards cheaper protein alternatives. However, while household purchases of beef declined in 2011, total expenditure increased 1pc – the result of a 4pc average increase in price. Roasting cuts and steaks registered the largest reduction in purchases, as consumers switched to cheaper proteins. In the first half of 2011 stewing beef and mince performed strongly, with both products cheaper and key ingredients for component cooking. Additionally, increased UK beef exports in the last three months of the year reduced available supplies for the domestic market, pushing up the price of fresh beef.


Calling all LMAQ staffers

The Livestock and Meat Authority of Queensland was a prominent and highly effective contributor to the State’s beef industry landscape in the 1970s-90s era, with key roles including market reporting, beef research, public abattoir management, product description and market intelligence. Many of the former LMAQ staff are still active within the beef industry, some in very senior roles in R&D and commercial sectors. Now, former LMAQ staff are planning a reunion to celebrate old times and catch-up with friends and acquaintances. Venue will be Newstead Park, Newstead in Brisbane’s inner northeast (wet weather alternative, Breakfast Creek Hotel) on Sunday, March 18. Events will start at 11am. Contact is Janine King 0419 735542


Brazilian Govt bank provides $1.4b credit to processor

The Brazilian national development bank, BNDES has provided a US$1.43 billion credit line to Brasil Foods Corporation, one of the nation’s largest pork, chicken and beef processors. The company will use the loan to finance its expansion plans, it reported. The loans are calculated according to the Brazilian government's long-term interest rate, which is 6pc, plus an average spread of 2pc. BNDES loans are offered at lower interest rates than private banks. Commercial loans in Brazil typically come at a spread over the benchmark Selic base rate, currently at 10.5pc.


Researchers develop paper-thin RFID tag

Researchers in France have developed a way to deposit a thin aluminium RFID tag on to paper, according to an article on the ScienceDaily website. The innovation has the potential to not only reduce the amount of metal needed for a tag, but also the cost, which could open up RFID tagging to many more systems, and even allow a single printed sheet or flyer to be tagged. University of Montpellier researchers have demonstrated how a simple thermal evaporation process can deposit an aluminum coil antenna on to paper for use as an RFID tag. The researchers suggest that the approach would reduce the cost of RFID tagging to a fifth of current prices. “Prototypes are functional and easily detected by the reader; the next step is to optimise the design for each family of RFID chips. This will significantly improve performance while maintaining the same low-cost technology on paper," the team says.


DAFF mission statement 'abandons agriculture'

The Federal Opposition has accused the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of abandoning agriculture, after the department released a new mission statement that says: “We work to sustain the way of life and prosperity of all Australians”. Opposition agriculture spokesman John Cobb said the statement failed to give any direction or accountability to what DAFF stands for. “Surely the Agricultural Department’s role is to promote the needs of Australian Agriculture,” Mr Cobb said. Under the previous Government, DAFF’s mission statement was “increasing the profitability, competitiveness, and sustainability of Australia’s agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries and enhancing the natural resource base to achieve greater national wealth and stronger rural and regional communities”. Mr Cobb said the new statement represented a winding down of purpose and ambition in DAFF’s deliverables for farmers. “We need champions for our farmer sector, both within Federal Cabinet and in DAFF, to unashamedly advance farmers’ needs and interests in producing more from finite resources. But this mob have simply given up.”




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