Tag Archives: JBS swift

Milestones in the Australian Meat Industry


  • Outbreak of pleuropneumonia – decimated herds in NSW4


  • 1st Freezer works invented – Darling Harbour8


  • Tick introduced on imported stock from Dutch Bativia4


  • Tick Plague bought red water fever – killed many cattle, some pastoralists abandoned properties4


  • 3 Zebu bulls introduced to QLD4


  • 15 year contract with Australia – UK purchased all exportable beef surpluses8


  • Large numbers of imports of Zebu to QLD4
  • Refrigeration for long haul transports improved in efficiency and financially8
  • Sheep prices soared £1 head – during Korean war10


  • Britain won contracts in previous Australian export markets. USA developed ‘grinder beef’ allowed new markets for North Australia4
  • Global demand for beef, boom lead to record cattle numbers in Australia8


  • USA Lean beef market development8


  • Australian Sheep herd 155M10
  • Petrodollars Money – Middle East had significant discoveries of oil and lifted living standards in those countries, created a building boom, workers mainly from 3rd world muslim countries10             pg 28
  • 1st shipment to Middle East. 2500 Australian sheep £6, 14 shillings and 4 pence a head including fodder for voyage10Pg 28


  • UK – had outbreak of FMD8


  • BTEC began – stopped 1989. Cost $800M
  • Large cattle numbers and slaughter rates in 1970’s prompted significant expansion in processing capacity in QLD, with an increase in capacity of 32% between 1975 – 1982 (Rolfe 1988). The plants then faced work practices characterised by single shifts and a tight tally’s system. Most of the expansion met through construction of new plant, which was also needed to meet export standards in many of the overseas markets3
  • Sheep live exports significant – Middle east, Cattle SE Asia8
  • Economic downturn in the 70’s led to drops in global beef demand8
  • 4 out of 5 meatworks in North Australia had their export licences withdrawn –
  • “inability to fullfill obligations under the meat board diversification scheme in Australia”8
  • Australian sheep herd 180M10Pg 37


  • Australian sheep herd 142.3M10Pg 37


  • Beef Crash – caused by major loss of markets USA & Japan, severe drought started. Cattle prices plunged to lowest level in 30 years.4
  • Herd shrank by more than 60%5
  • Oil prices crisis triggered global collapse4


  • LE to SE Asia re-emerge on a small scale after years of inactivity5
  • LE mainly to Malaysia, Philippines and then in early 90’s to Indonesia8
  • National Beef herd 32.8M10Pg 42
  • National Sheep herd 127.5M10 Pg 42


  • AMIEU – picket line 4 weeks, prevented sheep being loaded onto ship, Feedlot Adelaide Virginia 90,000hd sheep. Were losing sheep due to rain and cold weather, Waterside workers unions also striked in support.Unions lead by Bob Hawke. Public rally supported by Farmers 10,000 against the union 4th April 1978. Operation Sheeplift – loaded at Wallaroo.10Pg 43
  • Meat Processing in trouble – didn’t have enough outlets for all the meat it was processing, yet LE was thriving at significantly higher prices, LE was shipping aged merinos, not suitable to slaughter in Aust, AMIEU still picketed10Pg 49


  • Cyclical downturn in slaughter numbers occurred in the early 1980’s, rationalisation was required. Industry commission inquiry in 1983 recommended market forces rather than government intervention be allowed to drive the changes.3
  • Plant closures of the late 1980’s was in response to rationalisation pressures. Most plants that were closed were the older, inefficient plants that reached the end of their operating life(Reynolds and Sangster 1998b).3


  • Australian Meat Holdings (AMH) formed – was pivotal in rationalising the meat processing sector in QLD– consortium of 4 meat processing companies, Including Elders (who bought other partners out in 1988) who then sold to USA processor (ConAgra)1993-1996.

1984 – 1986 

  • AMH closed 5 plants of the initial 11 owned by the consortium – utilisation rates had fallen to 32%


  • BTEC finalised4.


  • By the 1990’s, plant closures tended to be forced by financial losses rather than operating inefficiencies3
  • USA market health regulations forced many abattoirs across Australia to shut down8

(Not sure when actually occurred – ????????)


  • Live cattle exports to Asia and Middle East 147,000hd1


  • Live cattle exports to Asia and Middle east 290,000hd1


  • Beginning of Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA)


  • disputes and lock out at Rockhampton AMH abattoir


  • EBA’s introduced – Previously tally system has set rates of pay and also rate of productivity. Any new investment in efficiency meant workers just reached minimum tally in a shorter time. Tally system removed, increased production levels3.
  • EBA allowed multiple shifts,reduced penalties and shift loads, longer working days and increased pay rates. 30-40% increase in effective capacity. Lead to 40% reduction in unit costs3.
  • AMH if gained a 4% efficiency achieved a net gain of $62M over 10 years, industry wide net gain would yield $404 net gain3


  • Innisfail Meatworks closed leaving Townsville as only Northern abattoir in QLD5.


“Last weeks QLD cattle kill of 43,700 hd was 40% below the same week last year, The extreme low rates of kill are also reflected in industry statistics showing that for the 3 months ended January 30, Australian beef exports to the US reached just 38,000t a far cry from the same period in 08/09 of 70,000t2


  • Live Export ban to Indonesia.


  • Carbon tax introduction – $23/t for over 25,000t of greenhouse emissions.Europe payint $9.80/t6
  • Australian Export Meat Inspection System (AEMIS) introduced7
  • “AEMIS  utilises the presence of full-time government  veterinarian assessing the incoming stock and oversighting the production and inspection process, and a full time government food safety meat assessor inspecting”7
  • “The system is subject to external audits from senior Australian government veterinarians and by foreign officials representing many of our major trading partners”7
  • One processor says will add $100,000 in costs over next 12 months7
  • May. JBS arrived in Australia 2007, “despite $500m investment on improvements and upgrades, the cost of production of beef relative to major international competitors has actually worsened” JBS CEO Andre Nofueira12


  • February. QLD cattlemarket indicator (QCMI) 1985 $70.80 buy the same amount of goods in todays $ would cost $180.70 – prices are 30% lower in real terms than what they were in 859
  • March. Near record weekly kill tally – 81601, close to all time record July 200111
  • Young cattle indicator slipped 12c/kg, some grids back by 20c/kg


  1. ‘The past is before us’, The Australian Society for the Study of Labour History. Undated


  1. ‘Abattoirs under stress’Beef Central 22.02.10
  2. Competition and Exit in Meat Processing:A QLD Case Study. Agribusiness review 1999

References with their articles (Rolfe 1988),(Reynolds and Sangster 1998b)

  1. ‘North’s Beef Powerhouse’ Nth QLD Register 22.11.12
  2. ‘100 years of Northern Beef Production’ Nth QLD Register 22.11.12
  3. ‘Processors beef with carbon tax’ Nth QLD Register 06.09.12
  4. ‘Exporters query E.coli blow-up’ QLD Country Life 31.05.12
  5. ‘Sailing ahead’ Annabelle Coppin 2009
  6. ‘Beef Prices at historic lows necessitates focus on cost of production’ Beef Central 18.02.13
  7. ‘The Australian Livestock Export trade’ Nigel Austin 2011
  8. ‘Record QLD kill reflects ‘avalanche’ or dry weather cattle’ Beef Central 19.03.13
  9. ‘JBS heads calls for industry-wide focus on competitiveness’ Beef Central 17.05.12


Updated 28.12.2013. Longford abattoir is located on the North east side of Tasmania mainland, South of Launceston. Owned by JBS the abattoir is a multi species abattoir currently operating.

Other Names

  • Longford JBS
  • Number 195.18

Current Operation

  • Aus Meat Accreditation registration dated 29/12/2015 #195 – JBS Australia Pty Ltd (Longford).17
    • registered as a Beef, Sheep, Offal export facility.17
  • Direct employment enquiries to www.jbssa.com.au


Australia. Longford

Map. LongfordSource – Hema Maps – Australia Truckies Atlas. 


  • Gilbertson family
  • SBA foods (Sumikan)- 1996
  • Tasman Group7
    • Used to operate under name – Belandra Pty Ltd
    • Victorian based operation7
    • General Manager Fracnk Orovec7
    • Chairman Giuseppe Catalfamo7
  • JBS Swift1

Operation Of Longford.

  • Multi species processing abattoir2
    • Multi species abattoirs notoriously difficult and complex to manage5
    • Longford is Australia’s most flexible and diverse red meat processing site5
  • Capacity to process 450 beef a day, 1,600 Small stock such as Lamb, mutton and veal1
    • With beef operation also kills 1800 lambs and sheep a day, plus bobby calves and veal.5
  • Full Halal kill to key Muslim markets – Malaysia, Indonesia and Middle East.5
  • Full License access for beef and lamb export to China and Russia5
  • Carries out EU grassfed supply – MSA backed grassfed Natural beef program5
  • Longford carries out most of weekly grainfed kill on contract for Japanese owned Feedlot located in Tasmania5
  • Emphasis is directing sheep and beef meat to branded programs instead of selling product as a commodity meat.5

History Of Longford


  • SBA Foods sell to Tasman Group Services – $25M9
    • Includes King Island9
    • Altona abattoir – Melbourne (currently mothballed) – been closed for last 2 years9
      • Past 4 years had $10M spent on improving beef slaughter chain, chiller and boning facilities9
    • Yambinya feedlot – Wakool, Deniliquin.9
    • Tasman Group already owned – Brooklyn abattoir – gutted by fire June 2001 and still closed in 2002.9


  • Abattoir closed -part of union agreement workers to paid full entitlements7
    • Rescue package offered by Government7
    • More optimistic about workers future with package announced7
  • Abattoir had applied for new rendering plant7
    • $5M plant had already been built but formal application still required approval.7
  • 600 Tasmanian feedlot cattle went to King Island abattoir for processing.7


  • Tasman Group Chairman – Giuseppe Catalfamo brided Cole’s head of supermarket merchadising Peter Scott (Coles fired Scott in 2007).6
    • Scott had acquired million dollar bayside apartment from Catalfamo6
    • Considered a breach of retailers code of conduct – Tasman group main supplier of beef in Victoria and Tasmania6
    • Catalfamo been caught bribing and meat substitution in past – horse-meat substitution scandel that threatened Australia’s export industry 20 years ago, fined and banned from exporting to the USA for 10 years.6
  • Devonport abattoir provides Woolworths with fresh sausages for 29 Tasmanian stores6
  • Tasman Group – report ending 20056
    • sales had increased 30% but profit halved to $6.3M6
    • Company borrowings total nearly $62M6
      • Main creditors – National Australia Bank, ANZ and Japanese meat company Hannan Corporation6


  • JBS purchased as part of Tasman group when entered Australia with acquitsition of AMH5
    • Tasman Group consists of abattoirs in Tasmania – Longford, Devonport and King Island8
      • Tasman group 3 abattoirs in Tasmania including King Island and 3 in Victoria.8
      • JBS paid $US150M8
    • JBS also purchased Smithfield Group $US565M8
      • Has four abattoirs8
    • JB also purchase National Beef $US560M8
      • Has three abattoirs8
      • 2 meat processing facilities8


  • March. JBS lockout company -Cuthbertson Brothers10
    • Cutherbertson process sheep and lamb skins supply footwear trade.10
      • 150 year old company – established by Blundstone11
      • Purchase 80% of Tasmanian production of sheep and lamb skins11
      • Processing plant at Launceston11
        • supply exclusively to Manufacturer Melbourne – Dynasty11
        • Dynasty is agent for Henan Prosper – worlds largest tannery located in China11
      • Employ 20 people11
    • Cutherbertson call on ACCC to launch formal investigation as breach of Trade Practices Act, JBS have misused market power to push players out of the sheep and lambskin market.11
    • JBS refuse to allow Australian Lamb Company to process animals at Longford11
      • Australian Lamb Company is major exporter11
      • Processed 1000 heavy lambs  per week.12
      • Loss of buisiness caused producers $7-$10 per head.11
        • Australian Lamb company forced to send stock to Melbourne for processing11
      • At 2009 – Longford is the only supplier of export grade sheep and lamb produce in Tasmania11
    • JBS is dealing direct with producers , by passing stock agents.11
    • JBS continued pattern of activities designed to force Cuthbertson Brothers out of market by approaching Cuthbertson’s major clients.11
  • Sheepskin tender lockout has caused producers receive 50% less for skins11
    • $3-$4 per skin11
  • ACCC are investigating the matter but JBS refusing to discuss with ACCC.11


  • JBS lay off 90 workers13


  • JBS Australia split into two operating entities to make Northern and Southern regions in relation to abattoirs and feedlots within those areas14.
    • South – Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania14
    • North – NSW and QLD.14


  • JBS threaten closure of Longford if another abattoir is established on King Island abattoir (Tas)3
    • JBS say – not receiving cattle from King Island would hurt Longford operations3
    • JBS (at June 2013) still owned the closed King Island plant. It was not leased or for sale3
  • Longford Plant – Boning room to be reconfigured for great throughput to increase efficency5
    • Long term strategy to optimise production efficency5
    • Lift beef throughput by 50%, increasing beef killed from 300 currently to around 475 head5
      • Majority of cattle sourced – well grown Angus from Tasmania’s NE and NW regions5
      • Islands – King Island and Flinders can account for anything from 200-450 head a week, higher in the spring run.5
      • 80-90% of slaughter cattle are sourced direct from vendors5
    • More productive work hours – 4 day weekly roster, based on four 9.5 hour working days5
    • New technologies – X-ray fat analysis equipment to determine Chemical lean (CL) content5
      • Note – Chemical lean is fat/marbling amount through the meat, the higher the number the less fat content. 90CL very lean, 80CL has high marbling.
    • New technologies – metal fragment contamination screening5
  • Since purchase of facility – considerable infrastructure development, modern blast freezer facility5
  • Focus on growing a range of beef and lamb brands for both key domestic and international customers5
    • 75% of currently weekly kill is MSA accredited at slaughter5
  • Value add at facility – Supplies supermarkets and key customers5
    • Sausages, corned beef, marinated products, dicing, shanks5
    • conventionally packed or MAP5
    • sold under supermarket label.5
  • September. JBS launch brand launch.20

Beef central 27.09.2013 logo

 Great Southern Logo. Source Beef Central 27.9.2013

  • Great Southern grassfed beef and lamb.20
    • Products first of their type in Australia.20
    • third party audited program JAS/ANZ ISO.20
    • 65 accredited farm quality assurance programs backing the brand.20
    • huge demand in domestic and global customers for traceable fresh grassfed meat.20
      • supplied by best practice producers with better livestock genetics.20
      • MSA graded for eating quality.20
      • Farmers would receive premium prices.20
        • 10c/kg premium applied to grid for UK.20
        • 650 farmers through NSW, Vic & Tasmania accredited to supply the program.20
        • Audit costs (for farmers) are paid by JBS.20
          • Audits conducted by AsureQuality.20
        • Animals are consigned driect to JBS.20
        • forward pricing.20
        • Animals consigned through saleyards would not be eligible.20
  • “Today the margins are so tight that if you want a point of difference and that premium or no discount, you have got to be involved with quality assurance” Jeremy Upton, Producer.20
  • November. JBS Swift Australia install closed-circuit television camera’s (CCTV) in it’s Australian meatworks.19
    • For the purpose of animal welfare and meatworker safety issues.19
    • CCTV for internal use by only JBS, with no plans to allow outsiders to view the footage.19
  • JBS’s US beef division (which includes Australia) delivered drop in net sales and earnings in it’s third quarter financial results.22
    • Australia’s division performance and overall contribution to the overall result is impossible to distinguish due to inclusion with US and Canadian beef processing results.21
    • Earnings before tax $134M,.21
      • Down by 22.5% on previous quarter.21
      • Down by 28.4% on third quarter last year.21
    • result reflection of domestic North American markets.21
      • Improved performance had occured in Australian.21
        • Demand had increased in Chinese markets.21


  • April. Longford is the only multi species processing plant in Tasmania at this point
  • Integration of the King Island beef kill into the Longford business has delivered better effiecncies and success at the plant with economies of scale not previously available.18
    • Longford is a more robust business than prior to integration.18
    • Longford now hs the ability and consistency to supply key markets.18
      • China, European union, US, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Russia.18
    • Production has increased to 500 beef and 1,700 small-stock being processed a day.18
  • Grading quality of Tasmanian livestock is high quality, non HGP, non GMO.18
  • Beef sales, focused on direct sales to export and retail.18
  • Lamb sales focus on supply of domestic, retail and food service.18
    • including commodity lamb and mutton into China.18
  • Everything that can be value-added in the form of meat and byproducts at Longford is processed on site.18
  • All of the plant’s kill and much of the lamb production is boned, sliced and packed in 2 fabrication room.18
  • JBS no longer required to send animals for processing to the mainland.18
    • sausage making plant.18
    • packaged corn beef and lamb shanks for retail.18
    • By products rendering plant makes 25t tallow a day.18
    • lamb skins are graded and salted for weekly tender.18
    • cattle hides are sold green (unprocessed) to a local hide merchant.18
  • 300 producers support the Great Southern Farm assurance production program.18
  • Staff numbers at the plant had reached 450 employees.18
    • Devonport (domestically licensed) employing 150.18
    • Work was less seasonal and had better security.18
    • Future leaders program pathway available – Career Leadership Opportunities.18
  • July. JBS Australia across all facilities in operation kills daily14
    • 8,500 cattle,14
    • 24,000 smalls – which includes lambs14
    • Employs more than 8,000 people14
  • December. JBS currently operate 12 meat processing plants across 5 Australian states15
    • Wages & local procurement $730M (Excluding livestock purchases)15
    • Employs 8,500 people at the facilities15
      • Employs 12,000 people in Australia15
    • Total revenue of $6.5B15
  • JBS plants 2014_edited-1

    JBS processing plants in Australia

    Source JBS submission #50 Market Consolidation.

    • JBS estimates its current share of four eastern states beef kill – 20% (excludes service kill)15
      • JBS share of Australian beef production 16%15
      • Market share of national small (lamb, mutton & goat) 16%
    • JBS spent $2.4M on halal certification costs of approved religious certifiers in 201415


    • June. Cost of processing in Australia 1.5-3 times the cost of processing animals in another country15
    • cost of processing grain-fed cattle in Australia is twice of the USA15
      • lower levels of productivity in Australia in regards to kg per unit of labour15
      • 2 major differences between Australia and the USA15
        1. Government regulation
          • $10 a head more in Australia15
          • Dept. of Australian Agriculture fully recover costs of meat export inspection and certification15
            • Australia wide DAFF costs $80M15
            • JBS contribute $14.5M15
          • Export plants don’t use DAFF but use approved employees, which plants fully cover costs15
            • JBS estimate an additional $30M at Export level15
          • USA & Brazil governments provide services at no or minimal costs to processors15
        2. Energy Costs
          • $15 a head more in Australia15
      • Technical barriers to trade (TBT’s)- Total value in Australia estimated at $1.25B as identified costs15
        • 261 TBT’s in 40 key markets15
          • 136 have significant trade distortion impacts15


Sources Longford Tas. JBS

  1. ‘Support for KI meatworks’ The Mercury 18.06.13
  2. ‘Abattoir closure claims unfounded’ The Stock and Land. 27.06.13
  3. ‘Abattoir closure warning’ http://www.mercury.com.au 26.06.2013
  4. http://www.jbsswift.com.au
  5. ‘Expansion plans ahead for JBS Longford – one of Australia’s most versatile meat plants’ Beef Central 21.10.2013
  6. ‘Woolies sticks by kickback butcher’ SMH 15.01.2007
  7. ‘Tasman Services fulfil final payouts’ The Examiner 23.10.2003
  8. ‘Big Beef producer cuts deal with Tasman Group’ The Age. 06.03.2008
  9. ‘SBA foods sell to Tasman Group Services’  Stock & Land 19.03.2002
  10. ‘End of the Tasmanian Ugg Boot’ The Examiner 03.03.2009
  11. ‘Submission to Select committee on Agriultural and related Industries – Inquiry into food production in Australian’
  12. ‘Abattoir cutback inconveniences lamb company’ ABC rural. 26.02.2009
  13. ‘Australia: Union shuts down picket of locked out meatworkers’ http://www.wsws.org 29.12.2010
  14. ‘The next Swift Shift’ The Weekly Times 30.07.2014
  15. sub50_JBS Inquiry into the effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector
  16. ‘ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates’ Beef Central 18.12.2015
  17. AUS-MEAT Accreditation Listing 29.12.2015
  18. ‘JBS expands its books’ Stock & Land 24.04.2014
  19. ‘Swift CCTV camera action’ Weekly Times 13.11.2013
  20. ‘JBS unveils new QA driven southern grassfed brand program’ Beef Central 27.09.2013
  21. ‘JBS delivers lower third quarter beef sales, revenue’ Beef Central 14.11.2013
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