Live export diversification a winner for Gascoyne sheep producers

Live export diversification a winner for Gascoyne sheep producers

Live export diversification a winner for Gascoyne sheep producers

Updated 27 October 2016, 14:55 AEDT

A Western Australian sheep producer says the value of his stock has doubled since his family started a live export business to Malaysia.

Rural:Livestock:Sheep ProductionRural:ALL:ALLBusiness, Economics and Finance:Trade:ALLAustralia:WA:Wooramel 6701Malaysia:ALL:ALLsheep, live export, yaringa station, liveex, gascoyneABCEliza WoodLive export diversification a winner for Gascoyne sheep producersA Western Australian sheep producer says the value of his stock has doubled since his family started a live export business to Malaysia.

Richard and Francine Brown own Yaringa Station in the state's Gascoyne region, about 150km south of Carnarvon, and their son Jamie and his wife run an export business from Perth.

The export business started two years ago when they became sick of being price-takers.

"We got offered a few prices for our sheep that were pretty-well ridiculous and not sustainable for us to be on the station," Richard Brown said.

"So Jamie moved back down to Perth and did all his exporting licensing. He started off sending 70 sheep away a week, and now we're up to 1,500."

The Browns run between 8,000 and 9,000 Damara Van Rooy cross sheep on their 100,000ha station, depending on the season.

In order to supply the numbers to Malaysia, the export business also sources sheep from nearby properties and the Muchea Saleyards, near Perth.

"[The Malaysian buyers] are pretty fussy — you've got to send them good sheep," Mr Brown said.

"They're happy with them. They've been over here and Jamie's been over there.

"He's just come back making sure everything was right with ESCAS (Export Supply Chain Assurance System). He went through all the meatworks from start to finish and made sure everything was running smoothly."

Mr Brown said the move to direct export had paid off financially.

"We haven't got a headache of relying on anyone else, I know I can send them down there.

"I don't have to hold them on station for months and months until a buyer's ready.

"I'd say we've doubled our money."

Trialling new markets for lamb

The Browns started taking an innovative business path when the sheep live export business took a dive as a result of the Australian government banning live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011.

For about seven months, the couple sold cuts of meat from a refrigerated truck in Karratha, 780km from their station.

"I think you've got to look at different avenues of marketing your stock," Mrs Brown said.

"Because [the live export industry] was at crisis point a few years ago and I think that prompted us to look at doing other things and making more money out of it."

In addition to the live export to Malaysia, the Browns have sent their first shipment of chilled, boxed lamb to an un-disclosed location in Asia.

"You've just got to cover everything," Mr Brown said. "You never know what decision could be made that takes things out of our hands.

"It gives us something to fall back on. You just have to make sure we can't be cut off again."

internationalwach-gascoyne-exporters-brownGascoyne sheep producers Francine and Richard Brown at their home at Yaringa Station.

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