In this file:
· Australian beef exporters caught in crossfire of US-EU trade tussle
… The US is looking to grab for itself a bigger share of the EU's import quota for high quality grain-fed beef, which risks more than halving Australia's ability to ship beef to the 512 million-person European market…
· Beef producers continue to shed numbers ahead of a forecast dry winter
· AACo expects 'severe' cattle deaths in Qld
Australian beef exporters caught in crossfire of US-EU trade tussle
By Hans van Leeuwen, Australian Financil Review
Feb 10, 2019
London | The Australian beef industry is at risk of becoming caught in the crossfire of the Trump administration's trade spat with the European Union, putting at risk more than $100 million of annual exports.
The US is looking to grab for itself a bigger share of the EU's import quota for high quality grain-fed beef, which risks more than halving Australia's ability to ship beef to the 512 million-person European market.
The dispute is long-running but the intensity has increased as President Donald Trump has taken aim at a host of European Union tariffs – including cars, wine and soybeans – and put heavy pressure on the EU to make concessions.
"The European Commission has to consult with Australia, as a substantial supplier. Despite the EC indicating they're close to an agreement with the US, there has been no formal consultation to date," said Josh Anderson, European business manager at Meat & Livestock Australia.
"The Australian government has strongly supported the beef industry on this. We don't want to see a breach of WTO rules that would discriminate against us."
Right now, the 45,000 tonne annual EU grain-fed beef quota is shared between the US, Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand and Australia. Beef shipped within this quota is tariff-free, but outside the quota there are such hefty tariffs that exporting to the EU is completely uneconomic.
Every quarter the quota is filled on a first-come, first served basis – and Australia typically snaffles around a third of it.
The US wants at least some of the quota to be automatically allocated to American exporters – but Australia says this would undermine the level playing field required by WTO rules.
Australia has its own separate individual quota with the EU of 7,150 tonnes (which attracts a lower tariff, rather than a zero rate), but the amount Australia exports via the shared quota is typically double that.
So if the US were to take over the full shared quota, Australia's $238 million of annual exports to the EU could drop by as much as two-thirds.
Mr Anderson said the quickest fix would be for Australia to get its own, much larger, beef quota...
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Beef producers continue to shed numbers ahead of a forecast dry winter
Chris Bath, The Northern Daily Leader (Australia)
February 11 2019
Beef prices are set to skyrocket in coming months as the drought, and now floods, continue to squeeze domestic markets.
They say when it rains it pours, and for many eastern seaboard farmers the irony of that statement has become devastatingly real.
While the rest of us continue to toil through the worst drought in history, our neighbours in north Queensland have been thrown out of the frying pan and into the fire, with huge swathes of land going underwater last week.
Tamworth Association of Agents president Chris Paterson said the latest news was that at least 300,000 head of cattle had been lost in the flood, with the impact of that loss certain to hit local markets in coming months.
“It has been shocking – to come out of this drought and into a flood that severe is heartbreaking for those north Queensland producers,” he said.
“With the numbers around locally it won’t do much to the market at the moment, but it will in the future.
“When the drought breaks beef is going to get dearer and dearer as farmers look to restock against the abattoirs who won’t be able to source as much stock.”
On Monday another “sharp increase” saw 3500 cattle go to market in Tamworth, including some herd dispersals as local producers continue to offload core stock.
“Farmers just won’t carry numbers through winter because of the dry – it is just not economical to feed anymore,” Mr Paterson said...
AACo expects 'severe' cattle deaths in Qld
Alex Druce, Australian Associated Press
via The Advertiser (AU) - February 10, 2019
Livestock operator Australian Agricultural Company is stuck between drought and flood, the listed farm services provider bracing for 'extreme' losses at its 30,000-head Gulf property Wondoola station while counting the cost of continued dry weather elsewhere.
Shares in the company were down by more than 10 per cent on Monday after it announced it expected heavy losses across its four flood-affected northern Queensland properties, with an assessment yet to be completed amid the possibility of further wet season storms.
Of AACo's northern properties, Canobie, Dalgonally and Carrum stations have a total current herd of approximately 50,000 head of mainly cows and their calves, and are expected to sustain lower losses than Wondoola, about 480 kilometres north east of Mount Isa, where livestock losses are expected to be severe.
AACo management said they were monitoring the situation closely and would take all possible steps to mitigate the impact on operations.
"Our immediate focus is on our people, the welfare of our animals and the tight knit communities in which we operate," it said in a release to the ASX.
"The full effects of the flood are being managed and measured in real time."
More than 500,000 head of cattle are predicted to have been lost after a year's worth of rain fell in two weeks across the region.
Early estimates put the damage to the northern Queensland farm sector in excess of $300 million.
Despite the losses, AAco said it would still be able to fulfil its supply obligations and the rollout of its branded beef strategy...