Nowhere for milk-fed calves to be processed

31 Oct, 2009 01:00 AM
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PRODUCERS of milk-fed calves have been forced to make other arrangements for their stock due to a lack of abattoirs willing to process them.

The issue was brought to light recently by Bridgetown cattle producer Mark Hardey, who was told by Harvey Beef that it would no longer be accepting milk-fed calves.

Harvey Beef was unavailable for comment, but other producers have confirmed that they have also received notice from the processor to the same effect.

"This decision was made months ago by Harvey Beef with no explanation or alternative for the grower," Mr Hardey said.

"But it would love you to keep these animals for another 12 months when they will process them as yearling beef."

WAFarmers meat section vice president and Yornup cattle producer Michael Campbell said he had been told that Harvey Beef would not be taking any new season calves and were chasing heavier weights.

"It's disappointing," Mr Campbell said.

In the recently released Beef Stocktake report, it states that one of the challenges is to identify the factors that will break down traditional commodity-based attitudes to enable players to become market-driven niche market players operating sustainable and viable enterprises.

Mr Campbell said he found it ironic that on one hand the Beef Stocktake report was encouraging niche markets, but on the other hand they were being quashed by industry.

"Milk-fed vealers are technically a niche product but we can't get them processed," he said.

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