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Herd That


The NT cattle industry isn’t just about a great steak on a plate. It is so much more. In fact, you could say a lot goes into making a great steak.

The $1.2 billion cattle industry is a foundation of the Northern Territory economy – and to promote the importance of the industry, the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association is launching a branding and consumer initiative, HerdThat.

NTCA CEO Ashley Manicaros said HerdThat would be a vital tool for primary producers and supporting organisations “to generate a platform that promotes sound policy, economic growth and sustainability while directly supporting the NT cattle industry and Territory families”.

The NTCA has chosen the Brahman, often referred to as “floppy eared”, to feature as the face of the campaign. Brahman are the main breed exported to South East Asia and predominantly exist in the northern part of the Territory. In Central Australia there are more bigger boned breeds, including Hereford, Black Angus and Charolois.

A series of television commercials and digital marketing placements highlighting the people in the industry will elevate and personalise the industry’s story.

“The NT beef industry is a foundation of the Northern Territory’s economy. Supporting the cattle industry supports Territory jobs,” Mr Manicaros says.

“I think people will be surprised at the reach of our industry when it comes to jobs. We create more than 10,000 jobs directly and indirectly – from cattle producers themselves, to station hands, truck drivers, mechanics, grader drivers, service station operators, shop assistants, butchers, to stock agents, helicopter pilots, public servants responsible for monitoring the industry, vets, environmental scientists and so many more. Livelihoods, especially in remote and regional parts of the Northern Territory, depend on a healthy, booming cattle industry. HerdThat will play a crucial role in connecting with Territorians so they understand what we do and how we do it. By buying the HerdThat merchandise via our online shop, all Territorians will be able to show their support for an industry that has been a key performer at a national and international level. In times of economic downturn, the cattle industry continues to support local Territory businesses – Territorians working for Territorians. Even when we go through tougher climatic conditions we still manage to deliver. The money associated to industries that service the pastoral sector flows directly into our NT communities and rural towns. Our figures show 50 percent of everything we spend as an industry stays in the NT.”

Historically, the cattle industry has driven much of NT’s early infrastructure development and today the Northern Territory is Australia’s largest exporting region. Each year more than 40 per cent of the Australia’s cattle are exported from the Territory through the Port of Darwin and more than 300,000 are turned off for domestic use in Australia.

Mr Manicaros says major export markets for Territory producers include Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Brunei.

“Indonesia is our largest live export market,” he says. “More than 26 million Indonesians eat Northern Territory beef every year. This is a staggering figure when you compare the population of the Northern Territory and Australia. But through the creation of long-lasting relationships we have been able to grow the market and be a national leader.

“Between now and 2030, the Cooperative Research Centre for Northern Australia believes Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia present a $13 billion export opportunity for live cattle and boxed beef exports.

“So it is critical we get all the policy settings right to be successful.”

The NT cattle industry is about care for land and livestock.

“Territory producers look after the cattle and the land in their care. The reality is their livelihoods depend on producing healthy and content livestock,” Mr Manicaros says.

“The entire cattle export process is regulated by the Australian Government under two main regulatory systems: the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) and the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS).”

During all voyages, cattle are cared for by trained and accredited stock people. During long-haul voyages, a veterinarian accredited by the Australian Government is also present.

The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System requires livestock exporters to demonstrate that livestock remain within approved supply chains at all times, from discharge within the importing country to the processing point.

Cattle must also be handled and processed in accordance with the internationally accepted requirements for animal welfare, established by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Failure to comply with the ESCAS can result in the Australian Government revoking the exporter’s licence, applying conditions to a licence, failing to approve future consignments and imposing criminal sanctions.

“But NT beef producers not only care about their animals, they also care about the environment in which they raise their livestock,” Mr Manicaros says. “The pastoral estate represents around 49 per cent or 700,000 square kilometres of the NT’s 1.5 million square kilometres land mass. And if the treatment of the livestock is critical to the success of a pastoralist then so is the stewardship of the land they manage. We depend on a thriving environment and healthy ecosystems.

“The Australian Red Meat industry’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030. As an industry, we are serious about addressing GHG emissions and are committed to improving the environment while producing high-quality, nutritious beef.”

The NT cattle industry is about sustainability.

NT cattle producers use a diverse range of sustainable practices, including savannah fire management, herd management and environmentally sustainable land management methods. This can be challenging given the diversity of the Territory’s landscape – from the savannah rangelands to the arid zones of Central Australia.

Mr Manicaros says by carrying out early dry-season burning, land managers were actively reducing the risk of late dry-season bushfires.

“In turn, pastoralists are improving biodiversity and reducing carbon emissions. This also happens by improving herd productivity,” he says.

“Our beef producers also set sustainable stocking rates, increase water availability to improve grazing distribution, manage weeds and feral animals, and monitor pasture as part of their land management methods.”

The 2019 Australian Beef Sustainability Annual Update reports the beef industry is on track to become carbon neutral by 2030, having almost halved its carbon footprint since 2005.

“The NT cattle industry isn’t just about a steak on a plate. A lot goes into making this steak so special.

“Families, businesses and the future of the Northern Territory rely on our support for the cattle industry.”

You can follow HerdThat on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can show your support by wearing a t shirt, cap or using a HerdThat branded water bottle. Visit and show your support for the Territory’s largest primary production industry. TQ