File photo.STRONG export demand for Angus heifers has provided an important marketing option for stud and commercial breeders in recent years.
Nanjing Night Net

Angus Australia chief executive officer Peter Parnell says recent price rises in the domestic market may reduce the numbers available for live export trade in 2015, but in the longer term the trade would remain important.

“It helps buffer fluctuations in supply and demand, especially during poor seasons,” he said.

Dr Parnell says there are tremendous opportunities in China, with almost 30,000 Angus heifers certified for export there last year.

Strong demand is expected to continue in 2015, especially under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which will open up further markets.

“When they really get serious we are never going to be able to supply the numbers they need,” he said.

“We have seen the demand from their dairy industry with the importation of Holstein heifers for years but it is only just starting in the beef industry.

“Fortunately for us and Australian Angus breeders their breed of choice appears to be Angus, which comes down to the global recognition of the quality of Angus genetics.

“Across a range of climates where beef herds are expanding they are all choosing Angus.”

Kazakhstan and Russia have been major destinations for Angus heifers from 2007 to 2013 on the back of government incentives to develop their breeding herds.

However, falling oil prices have lead to a downturn in the Kazakhstan and Russian economies, making this funding more difficult. Political and trade restrictions in Russia were further obstacles.

Dr Parnell said it was unlikely this trade would resume in the foreseeable future.

Several large shipments of Angus bulls were exported to Russia last year, along with a very large shipment of feeder steers from southern Australia.

It was possible there would be further orders for feeder steers to Russia to utilise the feedlots and processing works they had built.

Dr Parnell said Angus Australia had provided support to the livestock agencies facilitating orders through pedigree certification of these breeding heifers.

Since 2007, more than 130,000 Angus heifers had been certified, in conjunction with the Australian Cattle Genetics Exports Agency.

Most of these heifers – about 90,000 – were exported by several shipping companies to a single enterprise in Russia, Miratorg.

Angus Australia has also provided support to several of these overseas herds by performance recording their cattle on Australian Angus Breedplan to create estimated breeding values on these animals.

Angus Australia staff had also assisted the Kazakhstan Angus Society develop its protocols and business model.

Dr Parnell said they would continue to work with these overseas customers of Australian Angus cattle.

“These people have chosen to source Angus cattle out of Australia rather than New Zealand, Canada or the United States so we see it as a good investment that we work with them so they will keep coming back here,” he said.

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