AUSTRALIA’S largest livestock exporter Wellard expects to send a shipment of live slaughter and feeder cattle, sourced predominantly from southern areas of Australia, to China within 12 months.
The international operation, based in Perth, WA, will be looking for European breeds sourced out of South Australia, Victoria and NSW.
While Angus will be high on the list given its high-recognition status in China, Wellard chief executive officer Mauro Balzarini said the latest news was that China would like to have Simmentals also.
“Simmentals are the flavour of the moment with China,” he said.
Mr Balzarini said Wellard was investing ‘in the tens of millions’ to set the scene for this trade in China, in both facilities on the ground in China and shipping capacity.
In a joint venture with a Chinese-owned company, Wellards is building two feedlots – 6000 head to start with but increasing to 15,000 – and an abattoir.
Much work had already been done in terms of infrastructure and relationship building, and this was continuing, he said.
As well, Wellard already had established relationships in terms of bringing dairy breeding cattle from Australia to China.
It was tight cattle supply in Australia that was currently holding up this trade with China, Mr Balzarini said.
“A shipment in six months would be doable if we wanted to push the envelope but 12 months is more realistic given the availability of cattle at the moment,” he said.
How great is the potential?
“It will not be an explosion, rather a creep up,” Mr Balzarini said.
“But I believe the market will be able to absorb a million head a year quickly.”
For live cattle exporters, the China market will also absorb a lot of shipping capacity and Wellard has positioned itself well for that, investing heavily in new state-of-the-art livestock carriers.
The story Wellard expects to ship to China within 12 months first appeared on Farm Weekly.
By Shan Goodwin, Stock and Land