Sunday, July 3, 2022

Cattle shipment to China delayed

A shipment of cattle destined for China has landed a few extra days in New Zealand as it awaits the arrival of its livestock carrier.

The 7200 dairy heifers, worth about $13 million, were scheduled to leave Timaru last week but last-minute changes to the plans delayed the consignment.

Melbourne-based Landmark Global Exports (LGE), the company behind the live cattle export venture, confirmed the shipment would go ahead.

LGE national manager Eric Broad said the delay was caused by circumstances beyond the company’s control.

“But the shipment will go ahead. I just can’t tell you exactly when it will happen at this stage. It’s temporarily postponed, that’s all.”

Broad said the issues surrounding the ship’s delay were being addressed. He did not say what the issues were but said they were nothing extraordinary.

The cattle are being held on a quarantine block in South Canterbury as they await their three-week journey to China.

The shipment is part of a growing trend of NZ cattle being sent to China as the Chinese boost their dairy industry to meet growing demand from an expanding middle-class.

Demand for NZ dairy livestock in China is experiencing a boom, with about 38,000 live animals leaving NZ shores for Chinese pastures last year.

Statistics New Zealand data shows 43,517 live cattle worth $112 million were exported from NZ in the year to November 2012, with China the biggest recipient, buying more than $100m worth.

The previous year, to November 2011, just 25,000 animals worth $63 million were exported to China.

NZ dairy cattle are sought after because of the country’s reputation for breeding cattle that produce well in China.

Exported cattle are required to meet strict criteria. They must pass a number of disease tests, prove their breeding, and be available for inspection on the farm by exporters. Given the added expense to meet the qualifying specifications the rising yearling stock is generally sold at $300-$400/head above domestic values.

Australia’s Landmark was just one of several exporters operating out of NZ, Broad said.

LGE is the export division of Landmark Operations Limited, a leading agribusiness company that markets more than two million cattle and 11 million sheep annually.

It has significant investments in the dairy and beef live-export industry, owning two state-of-the-art quarantine farms in Victoria, Australia, as well as having a full-time lease on a large quarantine property in NZ.

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