Pastoralist likely to feel the pinch

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Mark Halleen runs Boolardy station, 330km east of Geraldton.

The 33,000 hectare station holds 2200 Santa Gertrudis Shorthorn crosses, which are usually exported to Indonesia.

Mark said the trade suspension would put a huge dent in his finances. “Economically it will affect us hugely,” he said.

“We average 160 cents per kilogram for our cattle and we generally send 900 to 1000 to export each year.”

Mark said the station was understocked this year because of drought and he had aimed to trade 2200 head a year.

He and his wife Carolyn plan to begin mustering in August.

“We were going to start a preliminary muster to go through the heifers and do our main muster in September to October,” he said.

“If we don’t start mustering by September, our cattle will be overweight for shipping.”

The Halleen family has been in cattle since 1972 and in the Murchison district since the 1900s.

Mark went out of sheep and into cattle in 1996 and sold his last sheep in 2001. The family also run a farm in Dandaragan where they fatten cattle for export.

“If they stopped live trade it will affect the farming side of things as well,” Mark said.

Mark called on the Government to act urgently on the trade suspension.

“There are 25 abattoirs in Indonesia that are doing the right thing, and 11 that created the problem. They need to keep the good abattoirs going,” he said.

“It has a flow-on effect to agents, truckies and Indonesian people.”

Mark supported the idea of more abattoirs to process WA beef.

“We should set up abattoirs in Geraldton, Broome and Derby, ” he said. “The one in Geraldton could be open all-year round.”

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