Grazier Ian McCamley poses on his Lowesby property near Rolleston. The photo was taken by his seven-year-old son Lawson McCamley.
Grazier Ian McCamley poses on his Lowesby property near Rolleston. The photo was taken by his seven-year-old son Lawson McCamley.

Live export bans fuel lower prices

PROMINENT Central Queensland graziers have warned the live cattle export ban could have dire consequences on the future of the industry if the issue was not resolved as soon as possible, despite the fact nearly all central region producers sent their beasts to abattoirs.

AgForce Cattle Board director and Rolleston grazier Howard Smith said the move to halt live exports was very disappointing for the industry as a whole, and warned the flow-on effects would hit markets in the CQ region in months to come.

It appeared some of the effects have already been felt, with processors already dropping the price by 25c a kilo on prime cattle heading direct to the works.

The first of three price cuts occurred after the live export ban.

“There shouldn’t have been an effect on prime cattle, not yet anyway,” Mr Smith said.

“It is already a very low price and I think the Australian Meat Industry Council, which represents the processors, is using the ban as an excuse and the fear of what it will do to markets - to drop the price.”

It is a feeling echoed by fellow Rolleston grazier Ian McCamley, who said Central Queensland producers were concerned that processors would use the fear of the live export ban to continually drive down already low prices.

Mr McCamley said Central Queensland graziers would like to see the live export trade up and running with new rigorous checks and balances as soon as possible.

“ABC (Four Corners) showed some very barbaric practices and there is no way we support that, but it is a shame that there was only one side shown,” he said.

“To the best of my knowledge there are good Indonesian meat works, but none of that was shown.

“Why are they punishing all?

“It is like catching someone speeding on the motorway and shutting the whole thing down.

“We want to be involved in Indonesia, and it is important for the Australian cattle industry that we bring up the standards of those that are lacking over there.”

Mr Smith said if the live trade ban was to stick, Australia would soon have to relocate more than 300,000 head of cattle, even with the inclusion of 25 new abattoirs, which he said would only account for 40% of the displaced livestock.

The fear is that all these additional cattle will eventually come south, bringing further price drops to an already struggling market.

“I’m extremely let down that no unity was shown amongst the industry, if this live trade ban continues then the industry up north will fold and we will all be in real trouble,” Mr Smith said.

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