Australian meat boss warns of drought impact

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Drought hitting cattle farmers

Related tags: Beef

Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC) chief executive Peter Rizzo has told MPs that the droughts and floods affecting cattle farmers in north Queensland will have a “significant impact” on meat processors.

Speaking to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee earlier this week, Rizzo said the loss of livestock was the “real impact​” of the floods for processors.

The reports we’ve got say that there is about a 2% reduction in the total herd, which is around the AU$26 million or AU$27 million mark​,” he said.

“The 2% impact on the herd and the compounding impact from the drought will have a significant impact for us. In the processing sector, the impact is not felt initially. It is obviously felt post-event when we don't get the livestock or the progeny that would have come from those animals that are now lost​.”

He said AMPC was estimating that it would be processing around 7.6 million cattle next year and was budgeting for levies to be the lowest since 2012.

The big impact for us, as the processing sector, is when the drought breaks, because, once there is rainfall and there is grass, then the restocker to buy animals appears, and it’s a greater tension, where the animals are effectively brought away from the export demand​,” he added. 

He told the committee that the red meat animal processing sector was made up of meat manufacturers who employed around 34,000 people directly across the country, working for its 105 members, representing 134 plants.

He said that most of these facilities were based in rural and regional towns where they were often the major employer.

The importance of the processing sector to these communities and to the national economy is not often fully appreciated by the broader Australian community, and we acknowledge that our sector has more work to do in this particular area​,” he said. 

Related topics: Australia, Environment, Beef

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