Falklands improves livestock haulage to ensure steady supply to meat plant
Falkland Islands livestock haulage should become easier in the forthcoming season with the introduction of suitable sized crates and equipment for both East and West Falkland, reports the Penguin News.
Getting livestock hauliers and the right equipment in place has been a challenge in the last couple of years, with regard to a steady supply to the Falkland Islands Meat Company (FIMCo), so the Board agreed the company should become more involved.
FIMCo General Manager John Ferguson gave an update at a recent Public Meeting saying that a mid-sized crate was needed on the West to allow cost effective haulage to the ferry, and a similar one for the North Camp.
Many Falklands’ farms have been using the small Ifor Williams type stock trailer which are now suffering from the multiple trips on the roads which are also time consuming.
“We were also relying on commercial hauliers to provide the right type of trailers for the six Suttons crates, used in pairs” said Ferguson, adding that as hauliers change from time to time, and because it can be difficult to get hauliers when there is a lot of other business around, it was decided that FIMCo needed to protect itself and its supply chain.
It was therefore agreed to purchase a 30 foot crate for the West (capacity approx 200 sheep), to feed from farms to the 40 foot rig; a 28 foot crate for the East (capacity approx 160 sheep); three 40 foot tandem axle skeleton trailers and a 6x4 tractor unit. The tractor unit is mainly for a back-up and extra runs to NewHaven, and FIMCo related work to and from Stanley, explained Mr Ferguson.
The crates and trailers will be hired out to Department of Agriculture approved livestock hauliers on a per load basis. “The charges will be based on full cost recovery plus maintenance, whilst trying to keep the charges as low as possible for farmers,” said Mr Ferguson.
FIMCo completed the high season last 27 April with 47,200 sheep and lambs processed and over 540 tons of meat and offal produced, earning farmers more than £1million for their animals.
“During the 2011-12 financial year it is expected that over £1million will be paid to farmers for the first time also” explained Ferguson.
Mr Ferguson said although lamb volume was slightly down on projections due to the very dry summer, “overall numbers were better than the 46,000 total budgeted, with over 50% being lamb.”
He said productivity was increased by over 40% per day on average rising from approximately 550 in 2011 to 750-800 plus in 2012. 43,800 (93%) of the skins were salted and shipped to Hong Kong in China and 46,500 (98%) casings and small intestines were processed and shipped to Egypt.
The Falkland Islands Meat Company operates from Sand Bay, south west of Stanley, which is an EU accredited export meat plant (designation FK-01) and is approved for mutton, lamb and beef exports.
Export production is carried out between January and April/May, and the local market is supplied with lamb, mutton, pork and beef. The plant undergoes regular audits; from export customers, veterinary authorities and EU inspectors. (PN/MP).-