Harvey Beef to nurture herd

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

Harvey Beef general manager Wayne Shaw says his company's commitment to a sustainable beef industry will underpin the State's herd growth.

Speaking at last week's Beef Innovation Day at Gingin Harvey Beef, Mr Shaw said Harvey Beef was about delivering "best value" for everyone in the supply chain and that would give producers the confidence to increase herd numbers.

Dire cattle industry projections for this year have forecast a decline of more than one million tonnes.

Industry analysts blame the tightening domestic market for the sharp decline.

Adding to industry shortage concerns, long-term herd predictions are also forecast to increase minimally by 2019.

Mr Shaw said Harvey Beef took its position as a leader in the WA beef industry seriously and "significant" investment by the company would help support growth.

The company supplies about 40 per cent of its products to the domestic market, supplying Coles with about 55,000 cattle last year, as well as the domestic restaurant market.

The balance of it products feed the booming US and Canadian market, as well as the burgeoning trade in South-East Asia.

"Over the last decade the Harvey Beef site has had quite limited investments," Mr Shaw said.

"Presently, there are many bottlenecks we are working hard to resolve and old technology which requires a higher labour content and pushing up costs.

"So with the investment there are opportunities to reduce manual handling."

Mr Shaw said by investing in improvements to the business and providing a solid and sustainable supply chain, everyone would benefit in the long term.

Livestock general manager Kim McDougall said producers had to cater to and respond to the market.

"Whatever we do is specific to our customer's wants and needs," he said. "There's no point giving a customer a size seven shoe if they've come in the shop for a size nine."

Mr McDougall said although it was acknowledged the market was tight, the company would always demand from producers what the customer wanted.

"So we're always going to superimpose our views, thoughts and opinions back onto what does our consumer want, and at farm gate," he said.

"The consumer has a mind of their own and they'll make purchasing decision based on their chequebook. So we have to be tuned in to the signals from the customer." .

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