Territory Stories

Year in review 2016-2017, Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association



Year in review 2016-2017, Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association


Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association yearbook; Reports; PublicationNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Livestock -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Beef cattle -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Ranches -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals

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Now we get down to the nitty gritty. Theres 100,000,000 head of cattle in China 60 million beef cattle, 20 million buffalo and 20 million dairy cows. 5.8kg per person per year is the accepted consumption rate, multiplied by the population of 1.3 billion comes to a consumption of 7.6 million tonnes or 45 million head of cattle that need to be killed every year. As a comparison, the official statistic from China is that they eat about 5 million tonnes of meat that is produced from their own herd (which comes to about 30 million head) so my figure isnt far off. In 2015 the legal imports were 600,000 tonnes. This comes to a total of 5.6 million tonnes, which leave 2 million tonnes unaccounted for; where did it come from? (see Figure 1). The elephant in the room is an Indian elephant. This is whats called the grey route, and its product that comes in the back door unofficially. Its estimated that about 1 million tonnes goes into China this way. Another port of entry is Hong Kong Hong Kongs population is only 7 million, but they apparently eat almost as much as the 1.3 billion people on the mainland of China (as per the statistics). But, of course, most of the meat that comes into Hong Kong goes into China. There are also a lot of live cattle moving around South-East Asia that end up across the border in China and they get there by a multitude of methods. The Chinese changed from being a net exporter to a net importer in about 2009/2010 miraculously, this is when the Indian beef exports to Asia went up from a bit more than 200,000 tonnes to a little over 1.2 million tonnes. From my personal perspective it seems like a reasonable assumption that the two are related. Vietnam is the biggest importer of Indian beef in the world (900,000 tonnes in 2014, 800,000 tonnes in 2016). The Vietnamese dont like Indian beef or frozen product, they prefer Australian product and their own local fresh product. So a lot of the beef from India that is shipped to Vietnam doesnt end up in Vietnam it ends up in China. The trade between Vietnam and China is astronomical, and in order to get the millions and millions of tonnes of product across the border there are lots of crowded border crossings (see Image 1), and a very large quantity of product gets across the other side of the border and no-one knows where it goes. As well as the front gate border crossings there are also the back gate border crossings the Vietnamese are very flexible and determined group. The Me Kong river is a fabulous trade route that goes from Sth East Asia straight into China. The OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) did a survey in 2015 of the movements of live animals along the Sth East Asian borders and the Chinese border (see Image 2), with the aim of figuring out what might be the implications for foot and mouth disease transmission. Their very conservative estimates were that about a million head of live cattle go across into China from India via Vietnam. There are animals in vast numbers moving from South East Asia into China. Animals are moved via boat, truck, and are also walked in. There are a number of irresistible forces that cause all of this to happen; theres a billion people in China who are short of beef South East Asian Markets Figure 1: The China beef data gap Image 1: Official Vietnam/ China border gate Image 2: Map of live cattle pathways into China (OIE) NTCA YEAR IN REVIEW 2016/17 85

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