News in brief 7 June 2011

Beef Central, 07/06/2011

Saleyards to stay in public ownership

The Dalby Saleyards on Queensland’s Darling Downs will remain under community ownership, the Western Downs Regional Council announced yesterday. The council recently reviewed the facility and took public consultation on a range of future options which included selling the facility to a private buyer. However, mayor Ray Brown said that after considering the options the council recognised the importance of the Dalby Saleyards to the region’s economy, and unanimously voted in favour of rehabilitating and redeveloping the existing saleyards site.  Planned works for the facility include a $700,000 investment to address workplace health and safety issues in 2011-2012, followed by $10.5m in the next four years to expand draft ramps and roof areas, the re-development of pen areas and the construction of a washdown facility to enable quality assurance accreditation.

Property Rights conference June 24-25

Property Rights Australia will hold its annual conference in Roma, Qld, on June 24-25 to focus on key issues affecting the rights of landholders.  PRA chairman Ron Bahnisch said the conference theme of 'Rights Undermined' highlighted the problems landowners throughout eastern Australia were experiencing with coal seam gas mining and exploration. Speakers will include Basin Sustainability Alliance chairman Ian Hayllor; Darling Downs farmer Graham Clapham who, with a group of local landholders, has secured National Farmers Federation (NFF) Fighting Fund backing to mount a Land Court challenge against the Queensland Government and Arrow Energy;  Burke Shire mayor Annie Clarke and western Queensland landholder Stuart McKenzie who will discuss impacts of Wild Rivers legislation in Qld; and South Australian independent MP and former SA Valuer General John Darley , who is calling for full compensation by Governments for any loss of rights incurred by landholders.

YouTube dust up

The National Cattleman’s Beef Association in the United States has turned to online video site YouTube to rally support for its campaign against dust control regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The association says the proposed regulations, resulting from a review by the EPA of Federal National Ambient Air Quality Standards, could result in farmers being fined for excessive dust kicked up from cattle or stirred up by the wheels of farm vehicles. The NCBA has embraced the use of new media in its campaign which includes a comical video of a cartoon styled rancher dancing and calling for viewers to stop the “dust police”. The NCBA is urging American people to lobby their members of Congress to support the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 which was recently introduced to block the regulation. The video can be viewed by clicking here


Price behind supplier switch to US beef

Raw material price, influenced by currency movements, appears to have been an over-riding factor in a decision by large Japanese beef bowl chain Matsuya to switch to US beef from Australian suppliers in mid-May. "We choose ingredients by assessing a number of factors, such as quality and price," Matsuya Foods' public relations and investor relations assistant manager told US media outlet, Meatingplace. "As a result of that assessment, the items on our menu are now made with US beef," he said. Matsuya, with 799 locations, has used Australian beef since 2004, following a December 2003 Japan ban on US beef after BSE was discovered in US cattle. Matsuya is advertising the switch in a campaign that is supported by the US Meat Export Federation. Because of a joint anti-BSE agreement under which Japan imports meat from US cattle aged less than 20 months, it was difficult for Japanese users to maintain supply sourced only from the US, a USMEF spokesman said. "But if a chain or company could fully be our supporter, we would support their business," he said.

Korea beef imports continue to grow

Total imports of beef to South Korea in April were up by 32pc year on year and 22pc year to date. The surge in imported beef appears to be the short-term consumer switch from domestic beef to imported beef due to the FMD crisis. Based on the current import rate, the imported beef market is expected to grow to 292,000 tonnes (2010:261,000), an increase of 13pc year on year. Australia continues to defend its leading position with 49pv market share, followed by the US at 37pc and New Zealand 13pc. In terms of cuts, 47pc (53pc YTD) of the US total imports are short ribs while Australia’s cut mix is more varied with short rib, chuck roll, and brisket accounting for 47pc (YTD 47pc). With the fallout from the FMD outbreak in Korea beginning to be fully realised, reports were in the media this week that Taiwan has still not recovered from the collapse of its livestock industry following a massive FMD outbreak in March 1997. That outbreak went to the culling of 10.6 million animals, 40pc of the nation’s pig population. Korean farmers are becoming concerned that the current FMD crisis will have a similar end result, especially given the accelerating level of pork and beef imports.

Pastoral company jeopardises food safety and export markets

A pastoral company has been fined $1000 and ordered to pay court costs by the Cairns Magistrates Court for one breach of the Stock Act 1915. The case was the result of a Biosecurity Queensland investigation into a consignment of 216 head of cattle travelling to Townsville for slaughter in July 2010. A total of 69 cattle did not have the appropriate NILS device. The defence admitted the company was aware that a number of cattle were untagged when placed on the truck and argued that all cattle were branded and earmarked. Speaking outside the court, Biosecurity Queensland officer Benjamin Payne said all producers needed to be aware of their responsibilities when travelling stock. “The NLIS was introduced in 2005 to enable the rapid, accurate tracing and identification of livestock,” Mr Payne said. “This system is crucial in controlling any outbreak of livestock diseases, restoring access to key markets following outbreaks or suspected outbreaks and addressing food safety issues. The implications for trade have the potential to be significant for the industry and the State.” Mr Payne said livestock owners experiencing difficulties in complying with the laws were welcome to contact their local biosecurity office. Breaching the Stock Act 1915 carries a maximum penalty of $4000 for an individual.


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