Live cattle exports are, of course, very prominent across Australia’s north and given Broome is the third busiest livestock port for the South East Asian trade, the importance of sustaining and growing Australia’s cattle exports is always a high priority for Kimberley producers.
Visiting Broome’s two export yards, where cattle enter pre-loading quarantine, as well as the Port of Broome itself, confirmed the professionalism of those involved in the live trade beyond the farm gate and the care they have for export cattle in the supply chain.
Travelling with Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association CEO Emma White, we also visited Roebuck Plains Station, which is owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation and managed by John and Kristy Geddes.
The property hosts training programs for young indigenous people who are seeking a career in the pastoral industry, but it is also a working cattle station and relies heavily on live export for its viability.
The exceptional quality of the Brahmans we were shown at Roebuck Plains is testament to the efforts being put into producing well-bred, modern cattle across northern Australia.
Herd improvement is one of the key drivers of productivity and profitability for producers, which in turn helps maximise the benefits of strong demand for their cattle. The positive impact of the live trade in terms of that on-farm profitability is abundantly clear.
A new report commissioned by LiveCorp and Meat and Livestock Australia, demonstrates that more than half of all live cattle export revenue is retained by the producer. In other words, given the live cattle trade generates an average of $1.2 billion annually, more than $620 million of that goes back into farm businesses.
This income allows producers to invest in developing new water points and upgrading yards and other infrastructure. It promotes good animal welfare and boosts on-farm efficiencies.
The update of modern improvements and the technology reflects the genuine care producers have for the wellbeing of their livestock, because good animal welfare is good business practice.
While the live cattle trade directly supports more than 2000 on-farm jobs across the country, the broader live export industry provides employment for over 10,000 Australians.
On northern cattle properties like those in the Kimberley, indigenous employment accounts for 10-15pc of the workforce. This is significant because other employment options are limited and it demonstrates the importance of initiatives like ILC’s training program at Roebuck Plains.