Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Australian Cattle - Live Export to China Agreed

​China: new market for livestock exports

20 July 2015​
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, has today announced a breakthrough in live cattle export trade negotiations with China.

Minister Joyce said the Australian and Chinese veterinary authorities were in the process of formalising agreement on animal health certification requirements, which would allow industry to begin to prepare the commercial and ESCAS arrangements for trade to commence.  “I was very pleased today to sign the agreement of health conditions for trade of Australian feeder and slaughter cattle to China—now it’s over to my counterpart, Minister Zhi Shuping, to sign on the dotted line and finalise the agreement between our two nations,” Minister Joyce said.

“Over the past five years we’ve had a significant trade in breeder cattle with China, primarily for dairy heifers. Now, I’m pleased to announce we are a step closer to the commencement in trade in live slaughter and feeder cattle to China. “Getting the groundwork right for any new market can take time, and now the industry can prepare to begin this trade.

“This will be the seventh livestock slaughter cattle export market that I’ve opened since becoming Minister—adding to Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Cambodia and Thailand.

“Market access is a major priority for the Australian Government—we have sent a clear message—Australia is open for business.  “And it’s not just our cattle producers who are experiencing greater market access opportunities, with the announcement earlier this year of agreed health protocols for breeder deer to Malaysia, and breeder sheep and goats to the Philippines.

“The Australian Government has worked hard to make sure our livestock producers and exporters have every opportunity to trade with other nations.

“Once the agreement is formalised, exporters will be able to begin working with importers in China to implement the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) and establish supply chains that meet those requirements.

“This industry is a real Australian success story. We are known world-wide for our high-quality and reliable livestock trade, and now industry has another opportunity for trade to increase,” Minister Joyce said.
brahman cattle - NT

That is the formal PR media release.

More work yet, and the big question will be............where are the cattle coming from since we already have large  boxed beef sales to China..

There is no slaughter agreement nor supply chain arrangements and anyway, why not slaughter here in Australia as we do now?

Yes, some positive news after Indonesia dropped the import quota to less than 30% of the previous quarter.  They might come to rue that decision, or will NT and other northern pastoralists continue to support the Indonesian trade?  It could be 6 months before live cattle start moving to China for slaughter, there is much to be done.  In the meantime, will the import permits to Indonesia increase?

The talk is a million head of cattle per year to China within 10 years.  It might be a tough gig to get that number which is basically double the already 1 million exported live to other Asian countries !  It is a numbers game and with more cows being slaughtered, where are the breeders coming from to achieve those numbers?

Curiously, a Chinese completed the purchase of a large pastoral property on the NT / Qld border earlier this week, for about A$46 million, including the stock.  Not sure I believe in coincidence!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Is Biosecurity Adequate in Northern Australia?

There is a lot of  future for north Australia that is dependent on effective biosecurity in the region.

Over the past several years the litany of biosecurity breaches seems to be significant :
  • Panama disease in a major production area of bananas in north Queensland - Tropical Race 4 [ TR4] a highly pathogenic variant
  • known areas of the same disease around Darwin, and banning bananas being grown in some NT areas, and restrictions on banana plant movements
  • a major effort at eradication of Banana Freckle disease near Darwin  after the exotic disease was found in the NT
  • Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus in curcurbits, especially melons, in the NT in 2014 and adjacent states also potentially infected, but not all jurisdictions are looking yet
  • an Asian Bee colony discovered in Darwin in the last few days, after hitching a ride on a caravan, but with an absent queen - who is suspected of absconding with a new colony and may be setting up locally [ if that establishes then there will be mayhem]
Asian honey bees

  • culicoides driven diseases also seem to be increasing - with blue tongue arriving many years ago from wind borne insects, and more recently a few more cases of chikungunya around the north [ at least so far the mosquito involved in spread does not seem to be around]; dengue outbreaks in some locations in north Queensland [ although the Australian derived disease in mosquities - Wolbachia may be a great agent to make a difference] if needed, as well as considerable issues surrounding other mosquito diseases such as Ross River Fever and variants as well as Murray Valley Encephalitis.  
We would like to see more agricultural development in the north of Australia, but biosecurity does need to be remembered......and emphasised.

While there has been money marked to be used for improved biosecurity in the north the track record is not all that encouraging.  And one must not forget human diseases either.

A meeting this week included a presentation on the dollars to be allocated to biosecurity improvements, R and D, upgraded awareness etc.  And presented by someone from outside the north Australia area seemed to leave local north Australia scientists and producers rather underwhelmed.  Some stated that industry  - a very diverse one at that - is not being adequately consulted or even advised.  One thinks of plant based industries - but often just the major ones of temperate Australia, but seems to forget fish farms, prawn farms, crocodiles and other non mainstream animal industries let alone the plant and animal based industries that thrive in the north - nurseries, asian vegetables, sugar, chia, cattle, pastures etc.  Are they being assessed adequately for biosecurity threats?



These are recent media release on new measures in biosecurity for north Australia, but there is little detail.  Finding any information on detail is also VERY difficult, as it seems to be hidden away from easy access.

Biosecurity might not be very sexy in terms of rural development - but it is important, and needs greater highlighting of what is being planned.

Friday, July 03, 2015

What is Warming the World?

This set of recent data from NASA has been picked up by Bloomberg and spread rather more widely in the business community.

I believe it does provide a lot of easily seen information to rebut the climate change deniers.  Will they accept any data?

It seems the strongest cohort of climate change deniers are located in the US political system along with the lobbyists who gild their cages and support their political campaigns.

While there is leadership around, it needs to do more.

The link is to a graphic infographic.  

Well worth watching, clearly showing the overriding effects of greenhouse gases, predominantly, carbon dioxide on global temperatures.

Interestingly............some very hot weather in Europe right now, with Paris recording the hottest day ever yesterday - over 40C,  and London also having very hot, near record breaking high temperatures.