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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2011
52 YEARBOOK 2011 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA Aplanned northern abattoir holds out the prospect of Top End cattle once again being processed locally, and the launch of the NT Government Agribusiness Strategy by the Chief Minister indicates a renewed commitment to development of the primary industry sector in the Territory. This is not to suggest that it’s all blue skies and sunshine! We face a challenging situation on a number of fronts. Our margins are being squeezed relentlessly by rising costs. We face high exchange rates, new taxes, an uncertain regulatory environment, pressure from animal rights groups, more restrictive legislation, extreme fire conditions and more. We need to remember, and to remind the community, that we create jobs, generate local economic activity and export income. This year marks 100 years since the Northern Territory was cut off from South Australia and this industry has been there all the way. In the past 12 months the Indonesian government responded to the pressures created by the large numbers of cattle and boxed beef imports which occurred in I believe our industry can look forward with some confidence. Seasonal conditions are excellent throughout; demand for our product is strong and emerging markets such as Turkey and Russia have added strength to continuing demand from our existing customers such as Indonesia, domestic and export processors. late 2009 and early 2010; sending a shock through NT producers who export close to 60% of annual turnoff live. While prices for feeder cattle recovered as the year went on and reached higher rates than previous years, northern producers with heavier cattle such as cull cows, bulls and heavy steers were hit hard. Cattlemen from right across northern Australia were forced to look south for markets. Large numbers of cattle were sent interstate to agistment, sold as re-stockers, or to slaughter at abattoirs in Qld, NSW, VIC and SA. Department of Resources figures indicate that some 80,000 extra cattle were cleared from north of the tick line to go south or east. While prices were generally good, the extra costs involved in freight, dipping, yard fees and charges, shrinkage and price penalties meant that up to half the gross value of each animal was being taken up in direct selling costs. This is not a sustainable long term option for the northern cattle industry. Figures on cattle exported from Darwin indicate that only about 20,000 less NT cattle were exported to Indonesia last year than in 2009. This indicates that more feeder cattle may have been found to replace heavy cattle. The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association