Northern abattoir raised at forum

Nicola KalmarCountryman

The second stage of a Government study into the feasibility of a northern WA abattoir has suggested a facility could be viable - if there was more irrigated fodder production in the region.

Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) executive director of livestock industries Kevin Chennell said findings from the study included the need for enhanced irrigated fodder production in the north, but the viability needed to consider a whole-of-supply-chain approach to address pastoral reform and other issues.

The recently released pre-feasibility study coincided with last week's cattle forum in Broome.

About 70 North West pastoralists attended the WA Northern Beef forum to discuss the live export trade, current market opportunities, and the industry's future in the region.

The meeting covered topics on herd and management improvement, processing options, development of northern cattle businesses and current DAFWA projects.

Keynote speakers including representatives from the live export, processing and transport industries also attended the meeting to engage with pastoralists, offering constructive outcomes to improve productivity and efficiency and how to enhance profit.

Speaker Ian Braithwaite, a Queensland beef cattle production veterinarian, delivered a talk on changing management which examined how to improve production and business concepts and attitude of production.

Dr Braithwaite said pastoralists needed to work 'on' their business and not just in it.

He offered information and advice to help empower them in the industry.

Jubilee Downs owner Keith Anderson said he found the forum interesting and useful.

"I was stimulated," he said. "It's made me think about production differently, and how to finetune it."

Nita Downs operator Kirsty Forshaw said the forum helped her to "get thinking again" on how to keep improving management of their business.

Ms Forshaw said she found the forum engaging and said she was considering looking at alternative cattle markets in the near future.

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