Processor's bonus hints at bumper year

KENDALL O'CONNORGreat Southern Herald

A record bonus announced by Katanning-based meat processor WAMMCO has hinted the livestock industry is faring better this year compared to last.

The processor announced a rebate of $1.8 million in bonuses and shares would be issued this month, with producers receiving an extra 40 cents a kilogram for lamb and 20c/kg for mutton.

The 2011-12 financial year was the first time in five years no bonuses were paid by the company.

WAMMCO chief executive Coll MacRury said this year’s outlook was much better than last year.

“Each year the board analysed whether a pay out can be made and to give the shareholders a good rebate,” he said.

“This didn’t happen the year before because we made a small loss and it was a very tough financial environment.

“There was also a lot of stock and the price we paid was not as good as previous seasons.”

Dumbleyung-based producer Dale Cronin said the announcement was welcome given the tumultuous cropping season so far.

“With a great start to the season things came to a sudden halt with frosts and only 10mm of rain in June, but with a better July and predicted rain this week there is definitely some renewed optimism,” he said.

“Hopefully with a steady rise in prices and more market opportunities, producers that have stayed in the industry will be rewarded.”

WA Farmers meat division chairman Jeff Murray said the announcement was a positive one for producers.

“The people who use WAMMCO co-operative would be very pleased with the strong season WAMMCO have had and certainly it will make a difference financially for producers,” he said.

“I am aware that other people have been going to alternate groups over the summer because WAMMCO were a bit behind the eight ball with their prices, but this will certainly give a top up.”

Mr MacRury said growth was going to continue with WAMMCO finalising its purchase of Southern Meats abattoir in Goulburn, NSW.

“It’s better risk management; there might be a drought on one side of the country and better weather on the other, we need to supply and this is a long-term strategic alliance,” he said.

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