9 October, 2020
WQLX joins organic cattle market after certification
ORGANIC cattle producers will now have a route to market through Longreach, with the announcement Western Queensland Livestock Exchange (WQLX) has been granted organic certification.
AAM Investment Group Northern Regional Manager, Gavin Tickle, said growing demand for organic cattle drove the decision to obtain certification for the facility which is predominantly used for transit and spelling.
On average, the yards process 95,000 to 120,000 head of cattle per year and Mr Tickle said he expected this number to significantly increase now organically certified livestock can be accommodated.
“In Queensland and the Northern Territory, organic is definitely a growing market, and a lot of producers who transit through our facility are starting to meet that demand.
“This is a way to support that growing industry and better serve the needs of our customer base,” Mr Tickle said.
“It’s also a great step forward for animal welfare. The journey for organic livestock – particularly from Northern Australia – can now be broken at Longreach where we have best-practice water and feeding infrastructure in place.”
Already, WQLX is popular for spelling cattle on long-haul journeys from northern and western locations given its strategic location between the farmgate and key markets.
Mr Tickle said by securing organic certification and positioning itself as a central point of exchange, WQLX will become increasingly vital in the East Coast livestock supply chain.
“Consumers are becoming more considered about what they eat and many are seeking organic products,” he said. “We are anticipating the facility will accommodate a variety of organic cattle – restocking cattle, cattle for processing and cattle for breeding.
“This will mean as the organic market grows, we will facilitate certified cattle going in all directions, not just south-east for processing, but also north for backgrounding and breeding,” Mr Tickle said.
The certification process was streamlined by the WQLX facility already having key structural elements in place and a robust management framework, which required only small tweaks.
This included auditing to confirm WQLX had the required feeding facilities, and soil testing to ensure there was no onsite chemical residue.
Mr Tickle said while organic certification will broaden WQLX’s customer base, the facility still offers high-quality spelling for regular cattle.
“Our entire facility is organic certified, however regular cattle can still be accommodated,” he said. “We are very flexible and can cater to quite a large volume of organic cattle at the same time as a large number of regular livestock.”
“We are the only spelling facility in the region that offers bunk feeding, which allows us to exceed the minimum feeding energy requirement,” Mr Tickle said. “And we don’t just feed any hay, but high-quality hay, so livestock are always well looked after.”
“Another big advantage of WQLX is that we are able to provide soft river water from the Thomson, which is preferred by cattle and helps them hydrate and stay healthy during the spelling period” he said.