Teys Biloela general manager of operations Duncan Downie. Photo Emma Clarke / Central Telegraph
Teys Biloela general manager of operations Duncan Downie. Photo Emma Clarke / Central Telegraph Emma Clarke

Teys Bros invest $10M into Biloela plant

TEYS Bros is investing $10million into its Biloela abattoir in the next six months.

This news is sure to reassure staff after the plant's operations shut down for two days this week, sending a scare through its workforce.

The Biloela abattoir did not operate on Monday and will not process beef today either.

It is possible workers will not be needed again next Monday.

Teys Bros Biloela general manager of operations Duncan Downie said the plant was unable to operate on these days due to a lack of cattle.

"We have gone through an extended dry period and now that we have had some good rain, producers are hanging onto their cattle, which means we don't have the numbers to process at the plant," Mr Downie explained.

"Our strategy is to operate (two shifts) five days a week, killing 710 head per day.

"But because of the cattle shortage at the moment, we have had to cut back our operations."

Mr Downie said the cattle herd had been diminishing because of the drought for four or five years and they had expected a shortage of cattle once rain finally fell.

"From our point of view, the sooner it rained the better and once we go through this adjustment (where graziers hang onto their cattle and attempt to grow their herd), we can get back to processing the numbers we normally target."

When asked if live exports were having an impact on the number of cattle available, Mr Downie said it was likely but not the major contributing factor.

Teys Bros traditionally sources its cattle from within 350km of the plant but has been forced in the past to purchase cattle from as far south as Victoria and north into Longreach, Charters Towers and up into the northern reaches.

"I don't know long term what impact the live export trade will have. It is a long way to bring the ships down to Port Alma and the cattle they get in this area are different to the cattle they get up north," Mr Downie said.

"Central Queensland cattle are better quality and heavier and they would be more expensive to buy.

"In my opinion, these expensive cattle would make it less likely for big numbers of live export cattle to be going out of catchment area. I'm not saying it won't happen, but I think they will be looking for cheaper cattle."

Work on the $10million investment on the plant will begin during Teys Bros' annual four-week shutdown, due to start on December 10.

In addition to its annual preventative maintenance program, Teys will spend $2.7million upgrading the boning room, installing a new vacuum-pack machine and conveyor system.

In January it will also install a new coal-fired boiler.

Mr Downie said there was a lot of speculation in the community about the future of the plant, but the company was very confident about its future.

"We wouldn't be making this sort of investment if we didn't see it as a long-term viable proposition," Mr Downie said.

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