Host: Anna Plains Station
Written by Helen Stoate – Manager, Anna Plains Station.
Imagine crippling an industry overnight. Imagine cutting off supply of a food source to a nation that is a close neighbour and an important strategic ally. Imagine acting before you investigate thoroughly what’s going on and damaging the relationship with that neighbour! Well that’s what happened when the export of livestock to Indonesia was banned. That’s what happened between Australia and Indonesia with the cattle industry.
I am a beef farmer and produce cattle for export to markets in Asia and the Middle East. I am also a qualified nurse. I have compassion and I have determination. Twelve months after the ban I went along with a group of pastoralists to Indonesia to see for myself how our cattle were being treated and cared for in Indonesia.
What I found in Indonesia was very impressive. The feedlots where my cattle were housed were fantastic. They were clean and the cattle thrived in them.Why wouldn’t they be? They have clean water readily available to them and feed constantly in front of them. That’s more than many people in developing countries have. The abattoirs were clean and had the latest technology being used. Stunning was in use and slaughter was quick.
Indonesian people rely heavily on wet markets. I went to a wet market and saw many Indonesians buy beef that was delivered early in the morning from meat that had been processed a few hours earlier. The meat is sold fresh, as many Indonesians do not have the luxury to store meat, as many villages don’t have electricity let alone fridges. The markets also supply other forms of fresh produce including fruit, vegetables, fish, and chicken.
Beef is an increasingly important source of protein to Indonesian people. Many people consume beef in the form of meatballs, known as bakso, which can be incorporated as part of a meal with rice.
Here on Anna Plains our production system is one of open rangeland grazing with minimalist involvement in our cattle. We are able to breed cattle well and the Indonesians are able to fatten the cattle well utilising many byproducts that are available to them. Many of these byproducts would have no use if they were not fed to livestock.
I am committed to supplying a sustainable beef source to a nation. I am committed to providing safe and healthy beef to the public. I am a beef farmer who cares for our cattle, environment and our customers.