Budget 2013/14 Northern Territory Economy
Tabled paper 295
Tabled papers for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by David Tollner
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
Department of the Treasury and Finance
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 153 Northern Territory Economy Crocodile farming in the Territory has grown significantly in the past few decades, from a small locally focused industry into an exportorientated industry driven by the increasing demand for highend fashion accessories. This has been achieved by substantial research and development over this period, perfecting techniques to lower mortality rates of eggs harvested from the wild and methods to ensure skin damage is minimised. In 201213, the Crocodile Farmers Association of the Northern Territory estimates that crocodile production in the Territory will increase by 6.9percent to $22.5million, mainly due to an estimated 7.8per cent growth in firstgrade skin production to $19.7million. Growth in production over the past few years has been supported by increasing quotas on the number of eggs that farms are allowed to harvest from the wild. Quotas increased from 50 000 in 200910 to 60 000 in 201112 and 201213. However, there is a lag between the increase in quotas and growth in production because it takes between 18 months and three years of age for the crocodiles to grow to a skin size suitable for commercial use. Buffaloes Buffaloes were originally introduced to the Territory from Indonesia and Timor by the British in 1825 and were first farmed for their hides. Hide production continued until the mid1950s when it was discontinued, being unable to compete with new synthetics and cheaper hides from SouthEastAsia. From the 1960s to present, buffaloes have been primarily harvested for human consumption. In 2011, a small pilot buffalo dairy operation commenced in the Darwinrural area. Beatrice Buffalo Pty Ltd sells cheeses and yoghurt to localsupermarkets, restaurants and at farmers markets. In early 2013, the company temporarily ceased production to relocate its farm to Batchelor. Beatrice Hill Farm is a research and demonstration facility located at MiddlePoint near Adelaide River and comprises about 2600hectares. The farm is involved in developing best management practices for buffalo production systems and flood plain pasture management to produce cattle and buffalo. It is the only buffalo research program in Australia and projects include the Riverine Buffalo Breeding Program, which involves cross breeding between riverine buffalo imported from the United States (US) and the local swamp buffalo. This program aims to increase milk production and improve growth rates for meat production. International buffalo exports from the Territory are estimated to have decreased by 19.7percent to 790head in 201213, mainly due to the introduction of the ESCAS, which has discouraged exports due to the high cost of implementing the system. Producers are also reluctant to export buffaloes due to the difficulties associated with stunning the animals prior to slaughter. Stunning is an essential feature under the ESCAS but is difficult to perform as buffalo skulls are significantly thicker than cattle skulls, requiring specialised and more costly equipment. The AACo abattoir under construction near Darwin may provide a future market for buffalo as it will be designed to process the meat.
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