Live buffalo exports tipped for bumper year
Camden SmithBusiness reporter
September 6, 2022 – 5:00PM
The Top End buffalo industry is defying challenges in the livestock sector, marking continued growth in live export volumes and successfully launching the processing season at Rum Jungle abattoir.
Owned by Central Agri, Rum Jungle Meat Exports began its 2022 program on July 2, following the first dry season deliveries of wild-caught buffalo.
Opening prices at Rum Jungle were up on 2021 rates, with slaughter-weight buffalo bulls commanding $1.90/kg liveweight and comparable females being purchased for up to $1.70/kg.
The abattoir has again been focusing on buffalo processing, with the aim of averaging 100 head daily throughout despite ongoing labour shortages.
Central Agri’s national livestock manager Nathan Lidgett said regular communication with vendors delivering animals to the plant, as well as ongoing collaboration with the NT Buffalo Industry Council, was ensuring peak scheduling, welfare and transport outcomes while also upholding carcass quality and meat yield.
“We commend the local vendors, agents and transporters on the quality, welfare and handling of the livestock, which have been presented to Rum Jungle in the past two months,” Mr Lidgett said.
“Communication has been excellent, especially when vendors and agents have rescheduled deliveries of buffalo for the welfare of the animals. Welfare is paramount to our company and it is evident that our suppliers share that same commitment.
“With thousands of livestock already processed through Rum Jungle abattoir in 2022, there has not been one incident, whereupon our livestock team has questioned any dereliction of care for any animals consigned to our operation.”
Meanwhile the live export of younger NT buffalo from Darwin to South East Asia continues strong, with year-to-date volumes set to surpass 8000 head by the end of September.
This year’s younger buffalo exports could potentially beat the record annual totals of almost 11,000 achieved in both 2020 and 2021.
This is in contrast to this year’s live cattle shipments, which have been subdued to due a lack of supply, price resistance from importers and biosecurity concerns in Indonesia upon the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease.
Reflecting the growing presence of buffalo in the live trade, a special new component was debuted at a livestock export training course for on-board stockmen conducted in Darwin during August.
The course, hosted by the Young Livestock Exporters Network and LiveCorp, was the first time formal industry accreditation training has been offered in Darwin for more than a decade.
Participants, mostly young cattle industry professionals drawn from across the Territory, had the unique opportunity to learn first-hand about best practice buffalo handling from NT Buffalo Industry Council president Adrian Phillips at Annaburroo Station.
“The volume of buffalo exports is growing, so ensuring we have skilled, competent buffalo handlers on vessels and throughout the live export supply chain is absolutely vital,” Mr Phillips said.
NT Buffalo Industry Council president Adrian Phillips Annaburroo Station.
“The emergence of Indonesia as our major export market for live buffalo is giving us increasing confidence about continued growth in the industry. Rum Jungle is in its third year now under Central Agri and it is proving to be a very valuable outlet for the older, heavier buffalo not sought by live exporters.”
“Having a market for all classes of animals is crucial to the viability of our industry and our ongoing partnerships with Traditional Owners to sustainably manage country and share the economic dividends of meeting the growing demand for healthy and affordable buffalo meat.”
NT Buffalo Industry Council Inc.
PO Box 36828
Winnellie NT 0821
Ph: 0476 685 324
ABN: 34 355 734 719