First cattle shipment to China departs

THE first live beef cattle shipment to China has set sail over the weekend marking the start of a new health protocol agreement with Australia’s largest trading partner.
First cattle shipment to China departs First cattle shipment to China departs First cattle shipment to China departs First cattle shipment to China departs First cattle shipment to China departs

Photo: Elders

Kristy Moroney

The initial modest shipment of 1200 Black Angus cattle was imported by part owner of the Kidman cattle properties and Gina Rinehart’s business partner, Shanghai CRED. Through Shanghai CRED’s specialty frozen processed food company Tai Xiang, the beef will reach high-end consumers, hotels and restaurants under the Baozhu Food Company.

This live beef delivery follows two air freighted consignments by Elders’ North Australian Cattle Company in 2015 and 2016, which proved effective trials for the burgeoning Chinese trade deal. The ship will take 15 days to reach Shidao New Port, which has previously received Australian dairy cattle. 

According to local newspaper reports, the cattle will be taken to a quarantine facility and abattoir 32 kilometres from the port.

Chinese company Tai Xiang has made significant investments in quarantine and processing facilities to ensure cattle are handled in accordance with the high standards required by NACC and the Australian industry.

Elders CEO Mark Allison said the milestone recognised the efforts of both Australian and Chinese authorities.

“Considering the record highs that exists in our current domestic cattle market, this shipment really signifies the demand that exists in China for high quality Australian beef,” Allison said.

The sale for Elders’ NACC business continues, with Allison confirming the process was well advanced.

“This shipment will mark a final chapter in our ownership of NACC, however we remain committed to Australia’s livestock industry,” he said. 

“Elders will continue to supply high quality cattle and develop live export markets, for our clients, right across Australia.”

Sourced entirely through Elders’ networks in Victoria and South Australia, the shipment consists of cattle aged between 18 and 24 months, weighing an average of 500kg.

Victorian cattle producers Bobby and Georgina Mann from Mortlake, supplied more than 100 head of steers and heifers for the China shipment and said the trade provided another competitive selling option for producers of quality Australian beef.

“With many parts of the country experiencing exceptional seasonal conditions, a large number of cattle have exceeded weight thresholds for feedlot entry,” Mann said.

“For us, the shipment to China was a timely option to sell steers, which would normally have been sent to a feedlot or processor,” he said.

Manager of NACC, Patrick Underwood, said animal welfare is paramount to any live animal shipment, and particularly when opening a new supply chain.

“Elders has been working very closely with Australian and Chinese authorities to ensure this supply chain operates above ESCAS standards,” Mr Underwood said.

“In the months leading up to the shipment, Elders have been on the ground in China, to ensure our customer’s facilities and techniques are above Australia’s animal welfare expectations,” he said.

“Processing of the entire shipment will occur within 14 days of arrival, and Elders will have its own supply chain specialists in attendance the entire time, to monitor compliance and provide additional assistance.”