WA ‘expanding market for organic lamb, beef’

29 Nov, 2008 07:36 AM
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Organically grown cattle being processed.
Organically grown cattle being processed.

Average organic beef prices on the east coast of Australia remain at 410c/kg for milk and two-tooth domestic (200-260kg), beast with some producers reporting a best preferred supplier price of up to 440c.

Peter Gall, senior buyer for The Organic Meat Company, says: “The market for organic meat has doubled over the past years, with more people coming on..

”Producers just need to be aware of certification requirements for markets they want to supply.”

The average price for lamb, however, has dropped slightly to 480c for carcass over-the-hook dressed weight.

Toby Scales, senior buyer for Cleavers the Organic Meat Company, says the fall is in response to short term seasonal pressures in the south.

“However, it still represents as much as 30pc above conventional prices in the yards,” he says.

He says a shortage of organic lamb is predicted to remain the norm, with many still in the grip of drought.

“We would encourage anyone running on empty to get in touch and get assistance in finding agistment or buyers for unfinished stock. This is well worth the effort based on current conventional lamb prices.

“We’re actually observing strong domestic demand for organic, which we can only assume is the result of a developing trend towards greater home consumption, with people eating out less and a pull back on luxury spending.”

Shane Blundy, owner of Cherry Tree Organics, and president of Southern Organic Livestock Inc organises the processing of the majority of Victorian organic meat destined for Melbourne.

He runs 1000 head on a property in South Gippsland, as well as purchasing supply from other organic growers in the region.

“We supply boned and retail ready cuts to shops in Melbourne, NSW and Western Australia, and to delicatessens, butchers and restaurants in Melbourne,” Mr Blundy says.

He says interest in organic remains strong even as economic conditions tighten.

“We’re pushing through a little bit more product each month – we can guarantee quality because all meat (predominantly British breed) is MSA graded,” Mr Blundy says.

Mr Blundy says it is important organic meat supply outside traditional supply areas of Northern Queensland and western NSW is supported.

He says currently organic production was not a problem, but more emphasis was needed on marketing best-tasting product.

“We feel we have achieved our objective of producing premium quality meat. Now, we need to look at more efficient and effective marketing of the right article - best eating quality is our goal, something that most breeders have lost sight of, “ Mr Blundy says. * For more information contact: Toby Scales, Cleavers Organic Meat, 0427 305 802 or Peter Gall, The Organic Meat Company, 0427 574 941.

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Queensland Country Life, November 27.

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