Harvey Beef proposes state’s biggest intensive cattle feedlot in Wheatbelt – Jan 24 2020.
The state’s largest beef processor and exporter Harvey Beef has proposed to build and operate a $51 million intensive cattle feedlot in the Wheatbelt to future-proof its supply chain against climate change, drought and diminishing pasture.
The largest cattle feedlot in the state, more than double the size of the current largest, would be in the Yathroo Region Dandaragan Shire – an hour’s drive north of Gingin and 25 kilometres southeast of Dandaragan township – to take in pasture-raised cattle and feed them enough grain to put on 200 kilograms in their final 100 days.
Dandaragan beef
Angus cattle at a feedlot in Central Victoria. CREDIT: RICHARD CORNISH
The application is from owners Harvest Road Group, part of the agricultural and food production division of Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Group which includes Harvey Beef, as well as Koojan Downs and Greg Harvey.
“This will provide greater security for cattle producers and Harvey Beef to withstand the ups and downs of the market, whilst ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality grain finished cattle for the WA domestic market and the rapidly growing premium export markets around the world,” their proposal said.

“As identified by the [state government] in 2018, much of the state has experienced climatic change over the past 50 years, with a decline in rainfall along the west coast of about 20 per cent, and an increase in the intensity, frequency and duration of hot spells.
“The impact of this has been readily apparent in 2019, with the average carcass weight … reducing as producers destock cattle to cope with dry conditions and a lack of suitable pasture.
“[This] facility will provide a greater level of drought resilience by bringing feeder cattle onto a grain finishing program that reduces the dependence on pasture for finishing cattle to processing weight.”
The facility will cover 3751 hectares, half the property, and ultimately accommodate 40,000 head at a stocking rate of 18 square metres per cow.
The other half of the property will remain as traditional grazing for the cattle supplying the feedlot.
Yathroo Cattle feedlot
A typical cow will enter the facility weighing 450 kilograms and be fed almost 11 kilograms of grain per day to put on almost 200 kilograms in 100 days, exiting at 645 kilograms.
The proposal said Harvey Beef’s facilities and supply chain had been developed since joining the Minderoo Group in 2014, translating to improved and more stable returns, and its meat was now sold in more than 30 countries as premium export markets grew.
“This considerable investment in the WA beef industry will significantly increase and stabilise the WA beef supply chain, reducing the supply risk and enabling Harvey Beef to better manage the processing phase,” it said.
“The facility will highlight best practice in the sector, having involved world leading experts in animal psychology in the design and operational plans.”
The facility would have the capacity for familiar herds to move through the supply chain together as opposed to being constantly transferred to new surroundings and grouped with different cattle, which would avoid undue stress, the proposal said.
Shire of Dandaragan officers recommended the application be approved, writing that the proposed stocking density was significantly lower than typical feedlots.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development noted in its submission that there were no biosecurity concerns as the closest intensive livestock facility was a deep litter piggery 10 kilometres away and the nearest cattle feedlot was 33 kilometres away.
But it voiced “strong concerns” regarding the sustainability of the proposal and its potential impact on groundwater resources, saying long-term groundwater monitoring there indicated a rising trend in the water table beneath the proposed development, that the rate of rise would likely increase under irrigation and that the proponents had not addressed this.
Shire staff said this was a matter for the environmental assessment process.
The Mid West-Wheatbelt joint development assessment panel will consider the planning proposal on February 3.

Article by Emma Young
Emma Young covers breaking news with a focus on science and environment, health and social justice for WAtoday.


Then there is this story: 

Virus wipes $1b from Andrew Forrest in a day – 28 Jan 2020

Fears that iron ore demand will be hurt by China’s tough measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak have snapped a massive rally for Fortescue Metals Group.

Shares in the Perth miner plunged 7.3 per cent to $11.57 on Tuesday, wiping almost $1 billion from the paper wealth of founder and chairman Andrew Forrest.

Compounding the fall is the continued selling from the miner’s second biggest shareholder, Hunan Valin Iron and Steel Group.

Second selldown

A change in substantial shareholding notice lodged with the Australian Securities Exchange shows Hunan Valin cut its stake from 11.8 per cent to 10.1 per cent late last week. It’s the second big selldown by Hunan Valin in a fortnight.

It’s understood the reduction in Hunan Valin’s stake is the result of an exchangeable bond set up in late 2016 that entitled bondholders under certain circumstances to exercise an exchange right and receive shares in Fortescue at the maturity of the bond. ​

Fortescue shares have averaged $11.26 since the start of the year, which values the selldown by Hunan Valin at about $439 million.

Tuesday’s share plunge brings to an end a spectacular run for Fortescue, which surged nearly 30 per cent from the start of December after strong gains in iron ore prices.

The rally added about $3 billion to Mr Forrest’s paper wealth and put him in a firm position to take the mantle of Australia’s richest man from Anthony Pratt. 

The rally was sparked by a jump in the iron ore price from $US80 per tonne to more than $US95 per tonne in less than three months.

China’s financial markets remained closed as authorities grappled with the worsening coronavirus outbreak. However, it was expected prices would fall after iron ore futures traded on the Singapore exchange plunged about 10 per cent to $US84.87.

Fortescue’s larger competitors BHP and Rio Tinto also felt the brunt of the investor fear. BHP shares fell 3.3 per cent to $39.10 and Rio shares dropped 3 per cent to $99.99.

Even with the dramatic plunge on Tuesday, Mr Forrest remains in a much stronger position than a year ago, when Fortescue shares were trading at about $4.40.

Story from:

Julie-anne Sprague co-edits our Rich Lists and covers entrepreneurs, wealth creation and investments. A senior journalist in our newsroom, Julie-anne has covered politics, property, agribusiness, retail and stockmarkets in both the UK and Australia. Connect with Julie-anne on Twitter. Email Julie-anne at jsprague@afr.com.au