The first major abattoir to operate in the Kimberley in more than two decades has officially opened, in what many hope is a game-changer for northern WA’s beef industry.
Located on Jack and Vicki Burton’s Yeeda Station between Broome and Derby, the Kimberley Beef Processing Facility has the capacity to process 300 cattle a day.
Keith Anderson from Jubilee Downs near Fitzroy Crossing, has seen a number of northern abattoirs shut down during his 50 years in the Kimberley cattle industry, but hopes the new one at Yeeda will be a success.
“There’s a natural spot for an abattoir up here, but it’s all down to economics,” he said.
“Hopefully it’ll work out to be profitable, because we need it, and we need to add value to different aspects of our industry.
“[I think] it’ll be an interesting and perhaps hard five years until they get established.”
Mr Anderson said his station was geared towards the live export trade out of Broome, but for years he has also trucked spayed cows around 3,000 kilometres to meatworks in the south of WA.
New abattoir creating feedlot opportunities across the Kimberley
At GoGo Station near Fitzroy Crossing, Phil Hams is watching cattle grazing on sorghum which has been grown under centre pivot irrigation.
Speaking to ABC Rural, Mr Hams said the Yeeda abattoir would give Kimberley stations a chance to get rid of cattle that don’t meet the specifications of the live export trade, but also open up new opportunities for stations growing irrigated fodder.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing that’s happened and it creates a lot of opportunity.
“As this area develops, and we get into feedlot situations, custom feeding and such, you can start providing a carcass the abattoir is looking for.
“What I can see sometime in the future, is having cattle spend just a few weeks on feed, and it making a real difference to the sale and profitability of the whole exercise.”