News briefs 14 June 2011

Beef Central, 14/06/2011

$150,000 cattle theft

A 36-year-old Gulgong man will be sentenced in August after pleading guilty in the Mudgee Local Court to stock theft charges in relation to the theft of over $150,000 worth of cattle. Murray Douglas Dale entered a guilty plea to charges of cattle theft, removing identifying marks from stock, selling stock with incorrect identification and providing false information. The case was the culmination of a year-long investigation in which stolen cattle were seized from properties at Condobolin, Yeoval, Trangie, Lue, Rylstone, Lake Cargellico and Mudgee, after being purchased with false identifying marks through commercial saleyards. Mudgee-based rural crime investigator (RCI), Detective Senior Constable Adam MacDougall, said the National Vendor Declarations provided tracing evidence that was central to the case. Detective MacDougall said the RCIs found the NLIS database to be a valuable tool in tracing the 111 stolen cattle, which were all Angus, Wagyu and Angus/Wagyu cross.

BetterBeef phone seminar

The BetterBeef Network is conducting a free phone seminar at 1pm this Thursday, June 16, to hear the latest from Edwina Lord from Meat and Livestock Australia. Participants will find out more about how Meat Standards Australia works and learn how producers can supply cattle into the system while maximising compliance results. This will be followed by a question and answer session. The presentation will cover: the Meat Standards Australia program; an update of numbers being processed; the national average premiums being offered to producers;  factors affecting eating quality (in particular how a producer can minimise the risk of dark cutting animals);  understanding feedback sheets; and an overview of boning groups. The session will run for one hour. To participate register by calling (02) 6030 4521.

Taskforce to tackle live export issues

The Queensland Government is establishing a live export taskforce to deal with specific state-based issues while the live cattle trade with Indonesia is suspended. Premier Anna Bligh said the live export trade in Queensland was worth more than $100 million per year to the State's economy. The immediate job for the taskforce, which will include industry and Government representatives, will be to find other options to prepare and transport cattle from Queensland's North to alternative markets. The taskforce will also feed into the Australian Government's independent supply chain review of all live export trade for all markets to ensure this can be completed as a matter of priority.

Record fine for  illegal land clearing

Queensland's largest ever fine for illegal clearing of vegetation was handed down in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court last week. Central Queensland couple Finlay and Valerie Cocks were fined $112,000 for illegally clearing more than 320 hectares of remnant native vegetation – an area equivalent to the size of 475 rugby league fields. The couple were also ordered to pay legal costs totalling more than $19,000. The clearing occurred at a property known as 'Diamond Dee' located at Coomoo, near Dingo – about 120km west of Rockhampton. The clearing was deemed to have potentially impacted several threatened or endangered species. The clearing, which took place between 18 September 2005 and 3 August 2006, was discovered through analysis of satellite imagery by the Department of Environment and Resource Management's (DERM) Statewide Landcover and Trees Study.

JBS continues to export to Russia

Brazil’s JBS SA, parent company of JBS Australia, told shareholders recently that three of its Brazilian production facilities will effectively be restricted due to a ban by Russia on animal protein imports from the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul.
In a statement to shareholders JBS said it believed that authorities from both countries would work towards resolving the issues. In the short term, the company would continue to service its Russian customers from another eight processing facilities approved and operating in other parts of Brazil, as well as from its production platforms in other countries, including Australia.

Japan freezing Wagyu

Japanese media outlet Chikusan Nippo reported on June 11 that moves to freeze domestically-produced Japanese Wagyu carcases were beginning to be seen in the marketplace.
The move came as end-user demand for beef has fallen further since the beginning of June and carcase prices are on the decline as a result. It was unclear whether the reference to ‘carcases’ was an interpretation mistake, that should have read frozen ‘primals.’

Trial over alleged cattle theft

A Queensland cattleman will stand trial in the District Court of Charleville on charges of stealing 123 head of stock from neighbouring properties over a 12 year period. A beef producer from a property south of Cunnamulla was committed for trial on seven theft offences; three counts of possession of cattle suspected of being stolen; fraud in relation to the sale of cattle; and unlawful use of a motor vehicle. He was originally charged with stealing more than 200 cattle but the number of charges was reduced after a committal hearing, at which several neighbouring producers gave evidence.The Court heard that Stock Squad detectives found neighbours’ cattle on his two properties near the NSW border south of Cunnamulla. The case involved DNA sampling and examination of cattle branding and NLIS eartags.  

2011 Agricultural Census underway

Approximately 170,000 agricultural businesses will contribute to the second biggest data collection project in Australia.  Held every five years, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Agricultural Census is the primary source of information about the agricultural sector in Australia. The data is used in a variety of ways by Governments, community planners and agricultural industry bodies and businesses to help with decision making, policy formation and planning. It will determine the contribution of agriculture to both local and national economies, while also collecting information about emerging trends in farm management, water use and farm-related environmental issues. Producers will receive information in the mail during June 2011, and this year they can contribute through a new online survey form. More details are available by clicking here   


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