New era for Harvey Beef

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Harvey Beef chief Andrew Forrest’s new $25 million case ready facility upgrade will drive the WA meat industry forward by developing new local and overseas customers’ demand for clean, green and traceable quality.
Camera IconHarvey Beef chief Andrew Forrest’s new $25 million case ready facility upgrade will drive the WA meat industry forward by developing new local and overseas customers’ demand for clean, green and traceable quality. Credit: Bob Garnant

No bones about it, Harvey Beef’s new $25 million case ready facility will “crack the whip” for WA’s meat industry.

Minderoo cattle station boss and beef baron Andrew Forest, who bought the Harvey beef processing business two years ago, said the plant investment upgrade was part of his plan to drive the State’s industry forward.

“WA needs to step up and double its agriculture production to meet the growing demand and opportunity from Asia,” he said.

The state-of-the-art facility will supply chilled WA boxed beef and lamb, case and packaged ready, to local and overseas markets, the latter currently involving 40 countries.

This will move Harvey Beef into a “paddock-to-plate” realm with a very attractive ready-to-stock store shelf product of the highest quality and strictest standards.

“WA’s clean and green meat industry will now be backed by Harvey Beef’s new beefed-up standard of traceability with every retail meat pack photographed and recorded,” Mr Forrest said.

“We have partnered with WAMMCO to package lamb to the same standard.”

Mr Forrest and his wife Nicola celebrated the opening of the new facility on site last week with more than 70 industry representatives attending, many who toured the new case-ready facility.

“This represents our first bloom into investing in long-term stability,” Mr Forrest said.

“Farmers can now have confidence to invest in their own production with pride.”

Mr Forrest acknowledged WA’s newest global supermarket chain, Aldi, which opens its first WA store on June 5, would be stocking meat from Harvey Beef and this would further draw overseas customers.

Aldi WA managing director Damien Schidel said the supermarket had plans to open 19 stores this year.

Mr Forrest’s enthusiasm about the beef industry drew an enthusiastic applause from the crowd before he introduced National’s leader Terry Redman to the floor.

“Agriculture, for the most parts, is now demand driven, no longer supply driven,” Mr Redman said.

“We have moved to a whole new level.

“There is plenty of new business knocking on our door and we must be investment ready.”

Harvey Beef general manager of livestock Kim McDougall said the case-ready facility would mainly throughput yearlings and prime beef with up to seven teeth.

“The challenge, which we have been working on for some time, is to work with cattle suppliers to ensure continuity of supply,” he said.

Benger beef cattle producer Kevin Armstrong, who supplies Harvey Beef, said there had been significant advances in recent times with the processor.

“Producers now have more profitable options, particularly in the heavier weight grain-fed category between 285 and 350 dressed weight, which WA never had before,” he said.

Mr Armstrong, who recently sold his wholesale butcher shop, said while Harvey Beef’s new upgrade was an outstanding achievement for WA, it would come at a cost to many small butchers, who would find it more difficult to compete.

West Pinjarra cattle producer Stuart McCormack, who runs 850 Shorthorn breeders is planning to re-invest in his backgrounding and grain finishing enterprise as a supplier of Harvey Beef.

“I was very impressed today with Harvey Beef’s commitment to the beef industry,” Mr McCormack said.

Wokalup producers David Lofthouse, who produce vealers and export steers for Harvey Beef, said the new retail packaging facility may bring stability with current beef prices.

“We are seeing the best prices ever and we’re holding on to hope they remain to keep rising costs of production at bay,” he said.

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