Truckie keen for live sheep trade’s resumption

Zach RelphCountryman
Katanning sheep producer and livestock transport operator Kallum Blake.
Camera IconKatanning sheep producer and livestock transport operator Kallum Blake. Credit: Bob Garnant

Kallum Blake is eager for the live sheep trade’s resumption.

The Katanning-based producer’s livestock transport business, which supplements the family’s sheep and grain enterprise, has suffered a downturn in work amid the three-month export halt.

Live sheep shipments were scheduled to restart on September 1, after the industry enforced northern hemisphere summer moratorium.

However, a spanner has been thrown into the works as part of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ efforts to fix the tarnished trade, potentially extending the shipping ban for another month.

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“The three-month ban is causing enough grief ... I’d usually be pretty busy carting sheep at this point,” Mr Blake said.

“If it gets pushed out to four months, it’ll become more difficult.

“When sheep are getting processed domestically, the sheep don’t get transported as much and it dries up work.”

DWER’s three touted live-sheep shipping options for Middle East-destined voyages during September and October include continuing the trade’s ban until October 1.

It was also proposed to extend the halt until September 22 for Red Sea destinations and to September 30 for consignments bound for the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea.

The third option is to resume the trade on September 1 as initially flagged.

Mr Blake’s sheep operations do not rely heavily on the live sheep trade, with very few of his flock sent to the live sheep vessels.

Yet, he insisted the industry remained important to its supply chain and in ensuring WA’s domestic sheep market would not get flooded with would-be export-bound Merinos.

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