Len ready to walk away from cattle

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Walkaway farmer Len Hamersley stands to lose $200,000 of annual income over the ban of live cattle export to Indonesia.

Len runs a broadacre farm 30km south-east of Geraldton and trades about 1000 head of cattle a year.

“We buy and sell Brahman and Shorthorn cattle, to fatten up for export,” he said.

“I normally buy and sell to the Indonesian market, but I’ve told my agent not to buy. I’ll shut my cattle enterprise down.”

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Len said he usually bought in cattle for $200 a head and sold them on for $400.

“I have to buy them now to fatten them for October, but with the uncertainty in the market, I’m not going to spend that money on cattle,” he said.

Though Len was concerned about the financial loss he would incur from losing the trade, he said northern producers were far worse off.

“As a farmer I can get income from other areas, like wheat, but there are a lot of other people that will be more affected,” he said.

“Pastoralists won’t be able to afford to operate.

“The Government is putting a huge amount of pressure on stations with what it’s done.”

He supported investigations into the welfare of Australian cattle in Indonesia, but said the Government could have taken a softer approach.

“It’s ridiculous. The Government gave us no warning whatsoever about the ban,” he said.

“They should’ve given us a month’s grace instead of just dropping the hatchet. There are too many millions of dollars going out the door.

“Nobody wants to see unnecessary cruelty, but can’t we just have it monitored?”

Len runs 500 head of cattle on his farm. Seasonal conditions have led to plenty of feed on the ground for his stock, but he could be faced with fattened cattle with nowhere to go.

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