MLA levy increase tipped

28 Mar, 2002 07:00 PM

THE fall-out from BSE detection in Japan, one of Australia's major beef markets, could see the Meat and Livestock Australia cattle transaction levies go up by 50 cents to $4 a head.

MLA's reserves had been eroded due to an extra $6 million being diverted to the promotion campaign in Japan to prevent a further drop in beef consumption.

The total levy increase being proposed was 70 cents but 20 cents would come from the National Residue Survey where the surplus had reached $8m.

WAFarmers meat section president elect Mike Norton said about $9m was need for MLA requirements, including $3m for North Asia, $3.3m for domestic promotion and $2.8m for research and development.

"It's not only Japan where we have to spend the extra $9m, we have moved quite a bit of funds out of Japan into Korea which is our next big growth market," he said.

He said while the MLA needed to spend another $6m for promotion in Japan, which put pressure on grass fed reserves, there was also another 100,000 tonne of beef without a market.

"We really are going to have to have some promotion to find a home for it," he said. "We have to either cut our programs or put up levies."

He said the problems facing 300-day feedlot to Japan cattle had a knock on effect while there had been an increase in the herd.

Mr Norton said the US beef industry was struggling to supply and believed Australia could have a 430,000t a year quota.

He expected some opposition to the increased levy from pastoralists and from live cattle exporters.

The increased levy proposal, supported by WAFarmers, would be presented at the next MLA annual general meeting.


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