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Australian Angus Heifers to Pioneer Kazakhstan Beef Industry

Saturday 24 September 2011

(Press release) – South Australia is helping to reinvigorate the beef industry in Kazakhstan through a new deal involving State Government enterprise Rural Solutions SA, a local exporter and a major Kazakh agricultural firm.

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Kazakhstan’s Cattle Sector Beginning to Expand (PDF)
Kazakhstan’s cattle sector is beginning to experience stronger growth, in part due to large-scale Government support measures. The Government of Kazakhstan has a goal of turning the country into a major beef exporter by 2020, and has directed large amounts of financing to the sector. This has already led to increased investment in cattle production facilities and greater imports of live cattle, including from the United States.

Agriculture Minister Michael O’Brien said as part of the deal, 400 Angus heifers were due to fly into Astana, Kazakhstan, in early November, and another 2100 between May and October next year to form the nucleus of the country’s first beef herd. Mr O’Brien said:

These will be the first Australian cattle imported into Kazakhstan. In a joint positive outcome for South Australia, Adelaide-based export firm ExpoTrade has also been contracted by the northern Kazakhstan company to source the stock from southern Australia and manage their transport.

Rural Solutions’ role is to provide business planning and expertise that will enable them to successfully manage these animals when they arrive in Kazakhstan. Consultants with Rural Solutions SA are developing a 10-year business plan and development strategy for the Kazakhs to support their emerging interest in the country’s beef industry.

Mr O’Brien said Rural Solutions was established to be a self-funding business unit within PIRSA.

“This is a great example of a South Australian Government enterprise delivering a commercial service efficiently and effectively,” he said. “By deploying South Australian expertise overseas we are keeping skilled people employed within government who can then deliver specialised services to the state.”

Mr O’Brien said South Australia was chosen as the preferred supplier of cattle and expertise for a number of reasons. He said:

These include our disease-free status, the proven adaptability of Australian-bred British breeds of cattle to cold climates, our expertise in beef cattle husbandry and management, and the fact that our producers operate profitable low-cost enterprises without government subsidies.

Dr Sean Miller, Senior International Consultant with Rural Solutions SA and a 2010 Churchill Fellow, said the 14-month project would provide staff from Kazakhstan with the technical expertise to grow their beef herd. Dr Miller said:

We travelled to Kazakhstan in August to evaluate the company’s resources, land, people, equipment and animals. Two staff members from the company will arrive in South Australia in October for four weeks of intensive training. The trainees will spend time at Roseworthy and in the South East working with our training partners and local cattle producers. With the whole of the beef value chain available to us here in South Australia, our Kazakhstan colleagues will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience across the entire industry. It will give them a vision of what could be achieved in Kazakhstan in the future and set them on the path to success in the beef industry.

Temperatures in Kazakhstan can fall to below minus 30 degrees in winter. With these Australian Angus heifers going into such a cold climate, it is important that we pass on essential knowledge to manage cattle in these extreme conditions. We can teach them how cattle can thrive outdoors, not just survive, in such cold weather, as has been proven in similar cold winter climates such as Canada.

We expect that the training provided will not just assist the company involved, but will flow onto poorer subsistence farmers in Kazakhstan who carry small herds and have little capacity to invest.”

Rural Solutions SA is the business arm of Primary Industries and Resources SA (PIRSA), providing professional consultancy services for Australian and international public and private clients.

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