What’s driving new abattoir proposals, and are they realistic?

 

James Nason, BEEF Central (Australia) 

October 2, 2019

 

THE recent surge in interest in building new abattoirs around Australia stands in contrast to the challenges the red meat processing sector has faced in recent decades.

 

More than 90 abattoirs closed across Australia between the mid 1980s and 2000s, according to statistics reported in the ACCC’s 2017 cattle and beef market study, while a further 16 cattle and sheep plants have closed in the past decade, according to a March 2019 AMPC report.

 

Gradual declines in sheep and cattle populations over that period and rising labour, energy and regulatory costs have been among the major catalysts for the ongoing rationalisation in the sector.

 

The trend has led to fewer numbers of larger processors operating around the country, as existing operators have sought to drive efficiency through scale.

 

The ACCC report also noted that despite the https://www.nh-foods.com.au/loss of many individual processing facilities, overall processing capacity has increased over that time, as bigger abattoirs have grown larger.

 

The backdrop of challenging conditions and multiple abattoir closures in recent decades begs the question: why the sudden recent interest in building new ones?

 

A common message behind new abattoir proposals is that the rationalisation that has occurred in Australia’s meat processing network has left regional gaps that have created opportunities to rebuild, and to take advantage of recent technological advances to drive new efficiencies.

 

Interviews with proponents of individual projects over recent weeks have identified a range of motivations behind the various proposals including: 

 

– The perception that greater competition is needed in slaughter markets ...

 

– The view that higher transport efficiencies and animal welfare benefits can be achieved by processing livestock closer to where they are produced ...

 

– The potential to harness new technology including automation and renewable energy ...

 

– An opportunity to satisfy growing demand for more service kill capacity ...

 

‘For one to succeed, at least one will have to close’ ...

 

Competition a critical driver of innovation for industry: producer ... 

 

more, including links, chart 

https://www.beefcentral.com/processing/whats-driving-new-abattoir-proposals-and-are-they-realistic/