TEYS Australia has joined JBS Australia in making the tough decision to draw a close to its 2015 beef processing season in parts of the company’s Queensland operations, with the Teys Biloela plant due to conduct its last kill on November 26.
The early closure will represent an extended seven-week summer-season shutdown for the Biloela plant, with a scheduled (though far from certain) re-opening date for first 2016 kill of January 18.
Like most abattoirs in Queensland, Teys Biloela last year killed up close to Christmas. The plant normally schedules a four week closure each year. It’s original target date this year was a December 10 closure, and a re-opening of January 8, but cattle supply circumstances have changed dramatically over the past couple of months.
Teys Australia said the decision to close the plant early was simply due to shortage of cattle. Biloela, along with Teys’ other Queensland plants at Lakes Creek (Rockhampton) and Beenleigh (near Brisbane) this week are all operating on a three-day roster only.
The company said it was providing every assistance it could to Biloela employees to help them manage the extended closure. No decisions have yet been made about seasonal ends at the company’s other Queensland plants.
The announcement follows a decision by JBS Australia on Friday (see earlier story) to shutter its Townsville plant before the end of November.
Biloela is specialist grassfed plant, processing about 700 head per day on a single shift, and employing about 440 staff.
Given the livestock supply circumstances, the Biloela announcement comes as no great surprise, following sustained record rates of slaughter across Eastern Australia, and record live cattle exports which have taken the national beef herd from a 35-year high to a 20 year low in the space of two years.