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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2012
10 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2012 Looking Forward Senator The Hon. Joe Ludwig Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry The Australian sheep industry is undergoing a resurgence with the fock forecast to reach 81 million head in 2012-13. After years of drought, sheep farmers can now be a little more optimistic and take this opportunity to enjoy favourable conditions, with strong demand for sheepmeat and wool. The Australian Year of the Farmer 2012 is a chance to celebrate our agricultural heritage as well as the continued successes of those in the sector, which means you. While domestic consumption of lamb has fallen a little as the price has risen, the silver lining is that consumption is forecast to recover. Exports for lamb are forecast to increase 11 per cent in 2012-13 to 170,000 tonnes and mutton exports are forecast to increase by 20 per cent to 106,000 tonnes (shipped weight). In the live sheep export market, strong competition continues and the forecast is for a 36 per cent increase to around 3 million head. A focus for Middle East market access in 2011-12 was the introduction of the new regulatory framework for livestock exports. For importing countries in tranche one, the new framework came into effect from 1 March 2012. Earlier this year I travelled to the region with a delegation from the Australian livestock industry, including the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, to discuss our commitment to these markets and implementation of the new framework. The supply chains under the new framework for the Tranche 1 countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey have been established and trade is continuing. In 2011, the total live sheep exports to the Middle East were valued at $320.9 million, an increase of 2.1 per cent on the previous year. Boxed meat trade is also on the rise, valued at $439.9 million in 2011, up 15 per cent on the previous year. This positions the Australian sheepmeat industry for a strong future. This is the environment that allows farmers to think about the future, investing in infrastructure and innovation, writing-down debts and improving genetics. It's also a time that allows farmers to think again about the importance of tackling the risk and spread of animal diseases. With increasing value of stock, it's an important consideration. Effective biosecurity at the enterprise and industry level is important. Efficient biosecurity at the farm level requires livestock owners to take a systematic approach in providing protection to their flocks against the threat of entry and spread of diseases. The ability to withstand a disease outbreak or biosecurity threat will be influenced by Australian farmers and the effective operation of their biosecurity plan. Driving the implementation and practice of biosecurity is the Australian Government and livestock industry. The Emergency Animal Disease Response aims to minimise the risk and spread of animal diseases. One of the threats is an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease and the government has released a report entitled A Review of Australia's Preparedness for the Threat of Foot-and-mouth Disease which looks at this issue and our preparedness. I'd encourage you to take a look at the report which can be found online at http://www.daff.gov.au/animal- plant-health/pests-diseases-weeds/animal/ fmd/review-foot-and-mouth-disease Biosecurity is a prudent investment and one that will ensure the outlook for the sheep industry continues to remain positive. Australian agriculture has a bright future, with the current outlook good across the board. As we celebrate the Australian Year of the Farmer, it's a good opportunity to celebrate our history but also prepare for the future as individual farming operations, as communities, as industries and as a nation. I hope you can take a moment to step back as you're next in the yards and enjoy the fact that prices are good and the sheepmeat industry has a bright future.