Wingham abattoir is owned by NH Foods that specialises in the processing of British bred cattle, grass and grainfed into a number of high quality branded products.

Other Names

  • Wingham Beef Exports

Current Operation

  • Aus Meat Accreditation registration dated 29/12/2015 #154 – JWingham beef exports.51
    • registered as a Beef export facility.51
  • Direct employment enquiries to NH Foods


  • Wingham is located on NSW mid north coast, approximately 260km north of Sydney.

Aust. Wingham

Wingham 001

Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.


Historical and current meatworks, canneries and abattoirs located in Australia can be viewed at;

Australian abattoirs inactive map



  • Nippon currently own 3 abattoirs in Australia,
  • Wingham processes up to 800 head of grass fed and grainfed animals per day.11
    • 80% are British bred types
  • Developed two programs.11
    1. Wingham Gold MB1
    2. Wingham Golf MB2
  • Livestock are sourced from NSW and Northern Victoria.11
  • Wingham purchases stock directly from producers based on Weight at Works.11
    • Stock are delivered directly from the producer to the processing facility
      • reduces handling and mileage
  • Wingham also purchases from livestock markets in NSW and Victoria.11
  • Export makes up 70-80% of markets.11
    • To Japan, USA, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Russia, Chile, Europe, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Ukraine, Indonesia and Switzerland

Wingham logos._edited-2

Wingham Beef Exports Logo Source NH foods Wingham Beef exports

History of  Wingham meat processing facility.


  • April. Taree and Wingham municipal councils meet to consider the establishment of a central killing yard (abattoir) at the current Wingham Bacon factory site that is in operation.7
    • Establishment of the central abattoir would ensure proper inspection of all meat which does not occur at present.7
    • Facility would be operated by the Master butchers and not the council.7
  • July. Establishment of an abattoir would be of great benefit to the beef and dairy industry who currently truck animals to metropolitan and Newcastle markets.8
  • Estimated cost of extensions to the Bacon factory to modernise £80,000 to £100,000.8
  • September. Directors of Manning Co-operative Bacon Society Ltd given the permission of shareholders to raise loans to £100,000.9
    • Proposal was to enter export beef trade.9
    • present factory would meet requirements until new facility is extended.9
    • Expect full operation 2-3 years.9
    • Killing price would need to be satisfactory.10
  • Current output was limited to Commonwealth inspection to fulfill military and naval contracts, or reach markets in the islands or overseas.10
  • Society did not possess a canning licence, thus denied participation in export sausages.10
  • Current bacon factory was having to bring pigs from Lismore and Casino to maintain supply.10
  • Dept. Agriculture and Minister for health had concerns about meat inspection and established centres at.10
    • Wagga
    • Dubbo and
    • Goulburn
    • No funding had been forth coming from the Federal Government to Wingham.10


  • 15% of the abattoir workforce are laid off.22


  • March. District is experiencing biggest flood this century.25
    • River at Taree was 18′ 18 1/4″ and rising.25
    • record floods occured in 1929 19′.25


  • Nippon purchase Wingham (Pg 86).5
    • Wingham is a major beef exports facility.5
    • Tomen sells it’s interest to Nippon.5
      • Major shareholder in Anvic Meat Exports Pty Ltd.5
  • When Nippon purchased Wingham, workers felt more secure in their jobs.22


  • Up to half of NSW abattoirs could close with the loss of up to 5,000 jobs.1
  • Authors Note – Majority of live export cattle during this period would have been Bos Indicus or crosses to South East Asia markets, sourced from mainly northern Australia. Not animals suited to heavy slaughter in Australia and from herds whos’ production was not likely destined for abattoirs in NSW.

LE exports 1990_1998_edited-2Source – Live Cattle Exports. Australian Commodities Vol 5 #2 June 1998

 Chart showing the high volume of South East Asia live cattle export destinations period 1990 – 1998


  • Nippon has invested $200M in abattoirs and feedlots over the previous decade(Pg 86).5
    • 3rd Largest meat processor in Australia.5
    • Exporting to 34 countries.5

NH foods Oakey export_edited-1

NH Foods holdings. Source – General Information accessed 21/12/2015


  • September. Abattoir upgrade will be done in 3 stages over 6 years.16
    • Stage 1. extension to house 6 new side beef chillers.16
      • There are currently 7 chillers, some will be converted and used to include the new chillers
      • Chilling capacity will be 1,200 carcases a day
      • Boning room extension will be conducted
      • Construction of a 35ML storage pond
    • completion date March 2001.16


  • Dairy Regional Assistance Program provided funding for improvements to infrastructure – $58M.14
    • Biggenden Meat Works Expansion  $208,230.
    • Casino Value Adding meat project   $801,724.
    • Midfield Meats Bull rearing and Processing plant $271,150
    • Nolan Meats Expansion and Value adding $1,595,000.
    • Scone abattoir expansion project $1,100,000.
    • Wingham abattoir project $990,000.
  • April. Wingham operate a rendering plant at Macksville that processes by products.11
    • Various items are offered for auction at the Macksville site.17



  • June. Enterprise Bargaining Agreement EA08/20 is approved.13
    • Wingham Beef Exports  and AMIEU collective Agreement.13
    • Effective for 3 years.13


  • AMIEU meet with major meat processors and the AMIC to seek public support to change the live animal export policy.40
    • Employers talked alot but did not commit to assisting the union to assist in campaigns to wind back live animal exports.40
    • AMIEU later joined with Animal welfare organisations to change Labour government position.40


IBIS Jun 2010_edited-1

Major Companies in the Australian Red meat processing industry

Source IBIS world June 2010


  • June. NSW experiences flash flooding in Clarence Valley, Upper Hunter, Bellingen Shire and Kempsey.19
    • Manning peaked at higher than expected level of 4.3m.19
  • August. Wingham conduct research assessing dewatered paunch waste co-combustion in boilers.20
  • Operation changes mean 86 casuals will be put off.21
    • 61 workers within the week and 25 jobs to be phased out.21
  • Wingham normally employs over 400 people.21
    • Largest employer in Wingham.21
    • Federal Government established a rapid response team to assist people to retrain and access support.21
  • Alot of people have careers developed through the facility.22
    • high focus on training.22


  •  November. Australia’s negotiations with Korean beef export market need to be finalised.43
    • Korean Beef trade is worth $770M.43
    • Delays have stalled with Gillard insistance that an Investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in the agreement be excluded.43
    • Korea is Australia’s 3rd largest beef export market.43
      • 2011 146,347 tonnes
      • 15% of Australia’s global beef exports
      • Currently 49% of Korean beef imports
    • Delays in FTA are causing high costs to processors.43
  • Australia’s market position would decline dramatically in 2013 to Korea if the EFT is not finalised soon.43
    • US beef has significant advantages over Australia.43
      • January 2015 will seee US gain a 5.3% tariff advantage
        • Australian been incures 40% tariff to Korea
      • Tariff widens 2.66% each January
        • US entering Korea Tariff free 2026
    • If the FTA is not finalised with similar tariff to US markets.43
      • Australia will incur cumulative loss A$1.4B over 15 years
      • Australia’s share of Korean market falling from current 49% to 26% in 2026.

 Profit Margins_edited-1Nippon Meat Packers Revenue Source IBIS world 2010,2013


Nippon Meat Packers Profit Earnings Source IBIS world 2010,2013


  • Wingham win 3 awards at the Royal Queensland Food and Wine show for its product – Manning Valley Naturally Beef.2
  • March. NSW coastal river valleys suffer heavy rainfall and flooding.23
    • Particularly areas around Wingham.23
    • Up to 190mm in one day.23


  •  Nippon Meat Packers Pty Ltd changes name to NH Foods.44
  • Logo NH oakey exports_edited-1

    NH Foods Australia Logo Source


  • February. Far West NSW  is suffering severe drought.24
  • April Frozen beef shipments to Russia are temporarily suspended from 07/04/2014.26
    • A similar suspension occurred 31/03/2014 for chilled beef.26
    • Temporary suspension of beef offal imports occurred 27/01/2014.26
  • Wingham exports meat to Russia, along with another 29 Australian establishments.26
    • Australia placed additional requirements on its testing requirements.26
    • Russia detected Trenbolone 21/03/2014.26
    • Australian authorities held an immediate meeting with Russian counterparts.26
      • providing details of testing and invited Russia to inspect Australian meat establishments.26
      • Trenbolone is not produced from cattle treated with HGP’s.26
      • Russia has a zero tolerance, most countries have a maximum residue limit.26
    • Russia placed new requirements of detection of Trenbolone.26
  • Russia may consider Asia, Chinese port and Indian buffalo meat imports to replace decrease is supplies from the US, European union and Australia.26
  • Australia has been a traditional beef exporter to Russia since the 1970’s.26
    • To July 2012 – June 2013 exported 24,000 tonnes
    • To July 2013 – February 2014 20,000t
    • Trade is worth more than $170M a year
    • Russia is a declining market for Australian beef exports
    • Calendar year to date Russia taken only 1,221t beef
    • Full year exports 2010 and 2011 topped 60,000 tonnes
  • Some workers rally in Wingham for a pay increase 17/04/2014.27
    • 300 workers striked.29
  • 24 hour strike started midnight by workers .28
    • 130 employees arrived for work, plant is in operation.27
    • 20 workers were striking at Wirrimbi, rending and cold storage facility near Macksville.28
    • Negotiations have been going on for several months in regards to EBA.27
    • Enterprise bargaining had been going on for 30 weeks.28
      • Eight months negotiating.29
    • Offer made to the unions in November 2013.28
    • Subsequent offer was made.28
      • common ground reached on many areas.27
        • except public holidays and overall wage increases.27
    • Workers want 5% increase for lowest paid workers in first year.27
      • 4% in each of the following 2 years.27
      • 80% of the workforce under lower pay agreement.27
      • Currently earn $17.20/hr.27
        • end of 3 years they would be paid $19/hr.27
          • Less than other export companies.27
      • Company had offered 9% increase last year but lose about 12% in offsets.27
        • removed payment of rostered days off.28
        • extend the ordinary working day.28
        • remove butcher’s picnic, which is a union picnic day.28
    • Boners, slicers and slaughtermen want 3.5% in first year.27
      • 3% in each of the following 2 years.27
  • Management of Wingham Beef Exports were continuing with negotations
    • entitlements that were to be traded for wage increases were ananchronistic.28
    • Modern working conditions are needed for the facility to be viable.28
  • Workers picketed 28/04/2014.30
  • May. Workers vote to continue with industrial dispute.31
  • Rolling stoppages – ban on overtime.33
    • Companies latest offer for lowest paid 4% first year.31
      • 3.5% second year
      • 3% third year
      • 3% fourth year
    • Highest paid workers to 3.25% first year.31
  • Ballot will be conducted 13/05/2014.31
  • June. Wage dispute is concluded, Ballot results.33
    • 175 workers voted yes – majority of 60%.33
    • 115 workers voted no.33
  • Lowest paid 13.5% wage increase over 4 years.33
  • Highest paid 12.25%.33
  • Wages would be effective from 29/06/2014 if accepted by the Fair Work Commission.33
  • Industrial action and overtime bans would now be lifted allowing full capacity production.33
    • current backlog of supply of cattle.33
  • Large percentage of product is HGP free2
  • China demand is increasing for forequarter and hindquarter2
    • including loin cuts, bones2
    • China buying quarters to process further once product is in China.2
    • Chinese meat processing plants are currently ruuning at 30 below capacity or less3
    • Note – other reports say China’s current processing capacity is only operating at 20-30%
      • Currently state-of-the-art plants in China with Germon technology just closed up
      • Quartered carcases offer an opportunity to better utilise their facilities3
      • By-passes costs in Australia by as much as 30%3
      • Australian processes are mainly configured for boxed packaging3
      • China was currently limited to frozen exports, chilled sales been suspended since September 2013 due to review of import protocols and health certifications3
  • Wingham is processing 600-650 cattle per day2
  • Very high cow kill numbers being currently processed are response to dry conditions2
    • likely to reduce in the coming year2
  • Construction and Infrastructure improvements $6M.39
  • Stage 1 – Truck access and turning area.39
  • Stage 2 Demolition of existing freezer area and construction of new plate freezing and packaging system.39
    • Expected completion June 2015
  • Stage 3 Construction of new cold storage and loading facility.39
    • Final completion expected September 2015
  • All construction will take place with fully operational facility allowing truck and pedestrian movement.39


  • July. Australia is on the verge of finalising a FTA with Japan.34
    • 97% of exporters set to get preferential treatment or be duty free.34
    • Japan’s standard 38.5% tariff on frozen beef will be cut to 19.5%.34
    • Fresh beef exports tariff will drop to 23.5% over the next 15 years.34
    • Beef Offal, worth $167M will also have reduced tariff and increased quota.34
  • Korea-Australia Free trade agreement enters into force 12/12/2014.45
    • Initially an immediate cut to some tariffs with a further cut 01/01/2015.45


  • December. construction will commence this month freezer facility at Wingham.36
    • more efficent plate freezing equipment will be used.36
    • quieter, cleaner and with significantly reduced environmental impact.36
    • will triple the plant’s holding capacity.36
    • provide better working conditions in the loadout area.36

Manning river_edited-1
Artist impression of the Freezer facility upgrades at Wingham Beef Exports. Source Manning River Times.


  • Branded product – Manning Valley Naturally is exported to Japan, USA, China, Korea and some domestic major supermarkets.36

Wingham logos._edited-1

Manning Valley Naturally – Wingham Beef Exports.


  •  January. MLA forecast.50
  • Australian cattle herd has gone from 35 year high (2013) to 20 year low (2015).50
  • Australian cattle herd slip to 26.8M head by June 2015
  • by 2016 expected decline to 26.5M head
  • by 2020 27.9M head
    • Adult cattle slaughter expected to slump 15% year on year.50
      • 2015 to 7.8M head
      • 2020 expected 7.9M slaughter
      • Long term Female average in 2014 52%
        • Normally female kill percentage 47%
          • Only in years 1977, 1998 & 2003 has female kill been above 50%
  • Beef exports record levels in 2014 1.39M tonnes shipped weight.50
    • Expected to drop 20% to 1.3M tonnes in 2015
  • March. Wingham currently employs 480 workers.37
  • Wingham is operating under Thomas Borthwicks and Sons (Australia) Pty Ltd Enterprise Agreement 2011.37
  • Foreign ownership of Australian red meat processing facilities

Nippon share_edited-1

Share of Australian red meat processing

Source The Stock Standard. VFF March 2015


NSW abattoir capacities Dept ag consolidation_edited-1

Capacity of major beef abattoirs in NSW. Pg 15

T2 Throughput state beef_edited-1

Share of throughput by state for beef in 2014. Pg 16

T4 processing companies market share_edited-1

Major Processing companies by market share May 2015. Pg 16

M4 direct cattle movements NLIS QLD_edited-1

Cattle Movements to abattoirs. Pg 25

F12 hourly labour costs food manufacturing_edited-1

Hourly labour costs for food manufacturing industry Pg 30

  • China current tariffs on Australian beef, sheep and goat meat, offal and hides amounts to $826M.49
    • Tariffs will be removed over the next 9 years.49
      • Add $270M a year to beef production.49
        • Flow to producers 8c/kg
      • Add $150M a year to sheep production.49
        • Flow to producers 13-26c/kg
    • NZ signed deal with China in 2008 and already 2 tariff reductions ahead of Australia, being tariff free end of 2016.49
  • China have interests in abattoirs in Australia and use Australian workers.49
  • Fear that the Chinese FTA could allow projects of investments of greater than $150M  to bring in workers with no market testing.49
    • Required to pay minimum Australian rates.49
  • December. American Trim market dropped significantly the last few months.46
    • some processors going into the red
  • Predicts Asian markets opportunities will emerge.46
    • more value add on products
    • Meatworks will look to expand to enable ability to use more of the carcase
    • will see every harvestable portion of organs to be packed


  • ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates.47
    • Data interpretation – Companies do not pay company tax on revenue (total income) they pay on profits after paying all expenses, including wages, capital replacement, supplier costs and other operating expenses.47
    • Income tax information is for 2013/14.47
  • NH Foods produced Total Income $845,824.273.47
    • Nil taxable income and nil tax payable.47


  • AMIEU express concern that major meat processors in NSW have not challenged the current Turnball Governments advertising campaign supporting the FTA agreement with China and the Trans Pacific Partnership.40
    • Thomas Food International,
    • Wingham Beef Exports
    • Northern Co-operative meat company
    • Bindaree Beef
  • AMIEU had approached meat processors in 2009 to lobby to wind back live animal exports.40
  • China’s FTA agreement could mean 1M head live cattle.40
    • 1M head less cattle could mean 3,000 Australian meat workers out of work.40
    • China’s FTA will not deliver jobs to the processing sector.40


  • January. KAFTA third round of tariff cuts occur 01/01/2016.48
    • Fresh, chilled and frozen beef has a current tariff 34.6%.48
      • Will reduce to 32%
      • Original level was 40%
      • Meat export is worth $A1.07B in 2014/15
      • Korea has always been one of biggest meat export markets
        • Shipments for lamb have increased 35%

Sources Wingham (NSW) meat processing facility.

  1. ‘5,000 jobs at risk: Abattoirs facing closure’ Sydney Morning Herald 21.05.1996
  2. ‘Export demand grows for Wingham’s HGP – free beef’ QLD Country Life 26.06.2014
  3. ‘China’s hunger for Aussie beef’ QLD Country Life 26.06.2014
  4. ‘China live cattle exports a strong chance’ QLD Country life 26.06.2014
  5. ‘World on a plate – A history of meat processing in Australia’ Stephen Martyn.2014
  6. ‘Meat Processing in Australia’ IBIS World. June 2010
  7. ‘Want central abattoir at Wingham’ 02.04.1954
  8. ‘Meatworks proposed at Wingham’ 30.07.1954
  9. ‘Wingham abattoir loan authorised’ 24.09.1954
  10. ‘Wingham’s 100,000 pound Abattoir plan’ 24.09.1954
  11. NH foods Wingham Beef exports
  12. Australian Premium Brands. NH Foods
  13. Wingham Beef Export 2008 wages agreement
  14. Dairy Regional Assistance Program. Parliament. 04.02.2003
  15. 03.06.2008
  17. 30.04.2003
  18. NSW beef production trends 2006
  19. ‘NSW Flash flooding’ 16.05.2011
  20. ‘Use of paunch waste as boiler fuel’ MLA August 2011
  21. ‘Wingham Beef Exports’ ABC News 15.08.2011
  22. ‘3 Generations notch up 214 years with Wingham abattoir’ Wingham Chronicle 04.04.2012
  23. ‘Yet more floods in NSW’ ABC Rural 04.03.2013
  24. ‘Emergency Drought Assistance package extended’ Manning River Times 12.02.2014
  25. ‘Throwback Thursday – 1978 Flood’ Manning River Times 20.02.2014
  26. ‘Update on Russia’s suspension on Australian beef’ Beef Central 03.04.2014
  27. Wingham Beef workers protest’ Manning River Times 17.04.2014
  28. ‘Hundreds of workers from the Wingham Beef abattoir west of Taree are on strike’ ABC News 17.04.2014
  29. ‘Mid North coast mental health nurses…..’ ABC News 28.04.2014
  30. ‘Wingham abattoir workers on strike’ AMIEU 30.04.2014
  31. ‘Wingham Beef export workers to vote on new pay offer next week’ ABC News 07.05.2014
  32. MLA MSA Licensed Plants 06.06.2014
  33. ‘Wingham Beef wage dispute resolved’ The Land 20.06.2014
  34. ‘Australia’s free trade agreement with Japan could see prices fall for consumers’ 08.07.2014
  35. ‘Inland QLD and NSW communities face second driest year on record’ ABC News 19.11.2014
  36. ‘Industry-leading freezer for Wingham abattoir’ Manning river times 05.12.2014
  37. Teys submission to Productivity Inquiry. March 2015
  38. Dept Ag. Submission to Market consolidation and the red meat processing sector July 2015
  39. ‘Wingham Beef exports’ Total construction Sept 2015
  40. ‘No Livestock means no work’ AMIEU 21.12.2015
  42. ‘Nippon Ham plans to invest $250M overseas’
  43. ‘Korean beef trade under threat’ The Land 14.11.2012
  44. Name change
  45. Trade Minister Media release 03.12.2014
  46. ‘Mackay meatworks gets ready to compete….’ ABC Rural 17.12.2015
  47. ‘ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates’ Beef Central 18.12.2015
  48. ‘Korea cuts import tariffs further’ 01/01/2016
  49. ‘Meat producers call for ratification of the China free trade deal, while union delay over jobs’ ABC Rural 31.07.2015
  50. ‘MLA forecasts beef market adjustment’ The Land 27.01.2015
  51. AUS-MEAT Accreditation Listing 29.12.2015

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