ANZCO Foods CEO update - October 2022

Posted on Sunday, 16 October 2022

The Government’s response to the He Waka Eke Noa recommendations – that provide an alternative option for pricing agricultural emissions outside the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme – was released last week. The outcome of this process will have a big impact on New Zealand’s primary industries, and we encourage you to take the time to submit on this document. This is a time for cool heads and a constructive approach to the consultation process, as we believe this is the opportunity to shape the final outcome with Government. There’s more information on how to do this below.

Our Five Star Beef feedlot has been in the news recently, with the Ministry for Primary Industries introducing a Controlled Area Notice (CAN) in an area of mid-Canterbury to try to better manage Mycoplasma bovis and the eradication programme. The timing of the introduction of the CAN was to align with the planned depopulation of Five Star Beef.

Most of the media reported this story accurately but a few had incorrect information that we’ve addressed directly.

Five Star Beef is a complex operation involving many different stakeholders including employees and customers, and a number of suppliers from cattle, grain, and vets through to transporters, engineers, and contractors.

While Five Star Beef is the country’s largest commercial feedlot, it is also a farm that’s been impacted by Mycoplasma bovis and will be going through the same depopulation process as other affected properties.

Our goal throughout the entire process is to minimise the impact on everyone involved. We’ve been keeping our key stakeholders and suppliers up to date through this temporary process including:

  • ANZCO Foods has worked closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries since Mycoplasma bovis was found at Five Star Beef in 2018.
  • Five Star Beef has followed all MPI’s advice and implemented and complied with all MPI’s biosecurity requirements.
  • MPI says Five Star Beef has shown a high level of compliance, has a high standard of biosecurity practice and is well-managed.
  • Animal welfare is a high priority for Five Star Beef. It is not in our interests to compromise on animal welfare.
  • MPI and Five Star Beef have worked together and put in place mitigation measures to reduce the likelihood of transmission risk to other farmers. This has also involved regular inspections and assessments.
  • The measures put in place are consistent with Five Star Beef not being considered to be the source of the infection. MPI says most farms are infected through stock movements.
  • The feedlot has been able to continue operating because all cattle on the feedlot go direct to slaughter – which is what happens to infected cattle from other properties.
  • The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) decided to hold off depopulating the feedlot until close to the end of the eradication programme based on the risk of reinfection at Five Star Beef.
  • MPI has now formally notified ANZCO Foods of the requirement to depopulate the Five Star Beef feedlot as part of the Ministry’s eradication of Mycoplasma bovis.
  • The feedlot will be depopulated (empty of cattle) by the end of this year. It then goes through the same stand-down and cleaning and disinfecting process as other farms, before starting to repopulate.
  • Five Star Beef has an important role in the community and this has needed to be taken into account when developing the depopulation plan.
    • Five Star Beef is part of a significant supply chain and the depopulation process will have an impact on Five Star Beef, its many cattle and feed suppliers as well as the wider community.
    • Five Star Beef is a key part of the local economy that is directly responsible for 300 jobs, with 30 people employed at the operation and the others involved in processing this niche product at ANZCO Foods Canterbury.
    • To try to offset the impact on its suppliers, Five Star Beef intends to continue buying cattle and finishing cattle on grass on contract grazing properties to help with the repopulation process.
    • The operation annually takes up to 40,000 head of cattle from farms all over the country as well as 50,000 tonnes of grain and 18,000 tonnes of maize from local suppliers. This accounts for 90% of South Island maize and 8% of New Zealand’s grain production. 

Peter Conley
ANZCO Foods Chief Executive

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