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South Africa Target for Australian Beef

23 December 2008

AUSTRALIA - Australian beef producers could find a new market in South Africa, following a trip by 24 of Queensland's top beef producers to the country recently..

According to a report in The Australian, the South African market is looking for cheaper beef and the Australian breeds could fit the bill.

National Australia Bank agribusiness spokesman Khan Horne told The Australian: "The producers in southern Africa are breeding for small-boned females with a higher calving rate.

"They are looking for an animal they can sell into their market which is generally a younger beast at a lighter weight at about one year old."

South Africa is a net importer of beef, and there is a high demand for cheaper forequarter chops, he said.

"In Australia, this is a cheaper part of the carcass, so this could be an export opportunity provided the higher Australian dollar and cost of production don't price us out of the market."

Most of the country's imported beef is currently sourced from South America and is mostly bone out, due to its Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) status.

South African beef cattle breeds like the Bonsmara, Beefmaster and the traditional Bos indicus provide an opportunity to expand Australia's genetic pool as those breeds are well adapted to drier conditions, Mr Horne said.

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