Sophisticated livestock exporter sector continues to evolve

The power of connection

Opinion
Sam Brown says there has been much sophistication across the entire livestock export supply chain, particularly in the areas of efficiency, livestock performance and welfare.

Sam Brown says there has been much sophistication across the entire livestock export supply chain, particularly in the areas of efficiency, livestock performance and welfare.

Aa

COMMENT: There has been much sophistication through the live export supply chain.

Aa

The livestock export industry has seen enormous disruption in the past 13 years.

But with this has come innovation.

Reflecting on how the industry worked when I started at LiveCorp brings home how much it has matured during those years.

It is still a highly competitive logistics industry but now it has greater sophistication across the entire supply chain, particularly in the areas of efficiency, livestock performance and welfare.

In a relationship-based industry, our trading partners are everything.

The benefits go far beyond transactions over livestock, through the business-to-business and government-to-government relationships it helps to develop.

I have been fortunate to visit many countries for LiveCorp, experiencing the cultures, daily struggles, and their values, focus on family and sense of community.

This includes a lot of time in Indonesia, the industry's biggest trading partner.

Every trip, I learned how important it was for them to achieve success for their people.

And I gained more and more respect for Indonesian values and what they are trying to achieve with food security.

Huge parts of their population depend on Australian livestock, for meals on the table and direct and indirect employment.

Listening and pulling apart all the messages and drivers behind their goals was an enormous learning curve, and the power of taking the time to understand other views and perspectives should never be underestimated.

In some countries, people experience education for the first time in their lives through the training provided by the industry in areas such as animal husbandry, animal welfare, humane slaughter and butchering.

It is truly something else, bringing about generational change and a massive shift in practices.

The biggest challenge for the industry these days is connecting with the Australian community in a way that provides an opportunity to communicate the innovation and improvement of the past 13 years.

For instance, safe delivery rates on vessels now equal, if not surpass, the performance that's been estimated on farms and in feedlots if you look at annualised mortality rates using available data.

This has created a need, as well as a desire from the community and industry, to move beyond mortality as a measure of animal welfare.

Such small percentages of animals dying or showing signs of disease or illness make it difficult to identify trends and issues.

LiveCorp has created LIVEXCollect, in conjunction with the regulator, to help shipboard vets and stockies report information about a range of animal welfare indicators developed by Murdoch University through industry research.

It provides a systematic and objective approach to capturing environmental factors, such as temperature and sea swell, management factors, such as access to feed and water, and the behaviour of the animals themselves.

This data is now being curated and presented back to exporters in individualised 'dashboards', providing opportunities for further improvements.

My hope, as I move out of the livestock export space, is that people in the community are willing to learn how things have changed and recognise the innovation that continues today.

That will help the industry to overcome the stigma of the past and focus on continuing down the pathway of improvement.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by