SA benefits from WA’s stock exodus

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 2nd December 2010

South Australian Agriculture Minister Michael O’Brien says the mass transportation of livestock from Western Australia is providing an unexpected boost for the state’s primary industries.

The ongoing movement of sheep and cattle from the drought-stricken West to South Australia and the eastern states is possibly the largest of its kind in Australian history.

Mr O’Brien said significant restocking in South Australia could potentially generate $50 million in additional revenue across the sector.

“It is estimated that by the end of the year one million sheep and lambs and 130,000 beef cattle will have crossed the border from Western Australia during 2010,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This is significantly more than the 95,000 sheep and lambs and 5500 cattle being transported from WA in 2009.

“The majority of the latest consignment of livestock has been transported since July, due to the good seasonal conditions being experienced in South Australia and the eastern states and below-average rainfall in WA.

“Approximately 38 percent of sheep and lambs and 31 percent of the cattle crossing the border are destined for South Australian farms across most regions of the state.

“Of these, about one third will be put onto pastures and feedlots for finishing, while two thirds will be used for future breeding.

“It is estimated that around $50 million revenue may be generated from these livestock in the next 12 months.

“In addition, a small portion of these stock will be going directly into South Australian abattoirs for processing for the domestic and export markets.”

O’Brien said the movement of livestock into South Australia and the eastern states had averted a significant animal welfare risk in Western Australia, which is experiencing a severe drought.

“While long-distance travel is stressful, departmental officers from South Australia, Victoria and WA have been monitoring movements and have in general been impressed by the condition of the stock and the commitment of the transport companies to comply with the relevant transport codes,” O’Brien said.