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MEDIA RELEASE

Wellard welcomes China slaughter and feeder cattle health protocols

20 July 2015

Wellard congratulates Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and the Department of Agriculture for their success in negotiating a landmark feeder and slaughter protocol between Australia and China.

“The health protocol agreement will enable commercial negotiations to accelerate between Australian cattle exporters and Chinese importers, feedlotters and abattoirs,” said Wellard CEO Mauro Balzarini.

“We believe that in time this will be a very important market for Australia’s cattle producers.”

In the past five years Wellard has exported 58,500 Angus and dairy breeding cattle to China, utilising an established breeder cattle protocol. The new feeder and slaughter cattle protocol set outs the market access and quarantine requirements for the export of feeder and slaughter cattle.

“Wellard’s longstanding commercial relationships and track record in compliance with China’s stringent health protocols will be important as we seek to work through the commercial and regulatory aspects of the new protocol to provide a new marketing opportunity for Australian cattle producers,” Mr Balzarini said.

“We want to be an active player in the Chinese beef market, not just as a cattle supplier, but in beef processing and wholesaling with a strong partner.

“As we pursue these opportunities in China we are mindful that we must continue to service our valuable existing markets which are very important to Wellard and to Australia.”

Wellard Chief Operating Officer Scot Braithwaite said the company possessed the shipping capacity to supply the Chinese markets and could increase that capacity if required, however it would take some time to develop the necessary infrastructure in China’s various provinces to handle significant numbers of cattle.

In addition, the 60-day quarantine required for slaughter cattle from Australia’s north (inside the BTV infected zone) to be exported to China’s Vector Active Zone, would make that particular trade cost prohibitive, unlike the southern zones were a 7-day quarantine requirement has been mandated for slaughter cattle. Northern cattle to be exported to the China outside of its Vector Active Zone only required the standard 7-day quarantine.

“It is not an easy protocol to meet as its various quarantine requirements will place considerable demands on producers and exporters. Wellard’s preliminary view is that the first commercial trade to develop will be feeder cattle from the southern BTV-free zones as the quarantine requirements are not as onerous and there is greater flexibility with maximum processing timeframes,” he said.

“This will complement other markets like Russia and Turkey which have proven to be intermittent buyers of southern cattle.”

All cattle exported to China must have resided on a property for at least three months, which will eliminate recently traded cattle from being exported.

Also, pre-export quarantine yards will only be able to house either China-destined cattle or other market cattle at any point in time.

“With a population of more than 1.3 billion people whose purchasing power is growing, China provides a great market opportunity for Australian cattle,” Mr Braithwaite said.

“Wellard looks forward to being an active player in the Chinese market where we can utilise our expertise to add value beyond the simple supply of cattle. The finalisation of the China protocol will also complement our existing, valuable markets in Indonesia and Vietnam, which Wellard will continue to service and develop.”

For further information please contact:

Cameron Morse

Phone: + 61 8 9485 8888

Mobile: +61 (0) 433 886 871

Website: www.wellard.com.au

 

Background – Wellard

Wellard is a world leader in the production and distribution of livestock and grain.

Its two largest subsidiaries are Wellard Rural Exports, Australia’s largest livestock exporter and ship owner, and Wellard Agri, a large mixed farming land owner and operator specialising in the production of grains, legumes and livestock.

Wellard Rural Exports has supplied quality dairy and beef cattle and sheep and goats to the world for more than 30 years, and its investment in the live export industry is without peer.  Based in Fremantle, Western Australia, the company’s operations cover every aspect of the export chain, including feed milling, livestock aggregation, road transport, feedlot facilities throughout Australia and modern shipping.

The company’s flagship carrier, the MV Ocean Drover (formerly the MV Becrux), is a purpose-built livestock carrier capable of carrying 75,000 sheep or 18,000 cattle to major markets around the globe.  She was commissioned in 2002.

Two, technologically advanced, purpose-built vessels, the MV Ocean Swagman and the MV Ocean Outback, were launched in 2010. They offer unparalleled levels of safety for the livestock, crew and vessel, and can transport 7000 cattle, 25,000 sheep, or a combination of both.

Wellard’s abattoir, Beaufort River Meats, processes up to 2500 sheep and lambs a day, enabling Wellard to meet customer demand for both livestock and chilled and frozen meat.

Wellard Agri owns and operates eight farms covering 35,700 hectares across three principal agri-hubs. The two northern hubs are located at Dongara and Watheroo in Western Australia’s central midlands and one is located at Kojonup in the Great Southern region of WA.

The Dongara hub is home to The Grange, a 14,500 hectare property which is considered one of Western Australia’s blue chip farming properties.

The remaining landholding being more than 21,500 hectares, in total planting 23,500 hectares to a variety of grains and legumes. The other 6,100ha is devoted to sheep and cattle production, including the Hyfield Poll Merino stud at Kojonup. In addition, Wellard leases an additional 13,500ha for livestock and grain production.

Wellard Agri also has operations in the farm machinery sector, through management of the CLAAS Harvest Centres at Esperance, Katanning, Wongan Hills and Geraldton for the Landpower range of farm machinery.

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