On Jan. 6, Swift Australia, the country’s largest beef processor, resumed operations at its Dinmore plant at Ipswich, Queensland, but with one shift instead of two. Meanwhile, processing at its Rockhampton plant, scheduled to start about Jan. 18, will depend upon accessing cattle as the region recovers from floods.
Floods are affecting about 1 million square kilometers of the state, Australia’s largest beef producer, the Queensland government estimates. In 2010, Australia had its third-wettest year on record. Continuing rainfall is also reducing sugar production, downgrading wheat quality, inundating crops and pastures and cutting roads and rail.
Shifts at the Dinmore plant, which processes approximately 18,000 head of cattle per week, would be scheduled day-to-day. Ipswich is about 25 miles from Brisbane, the export port for the state’s beef. Flooded roads are making it hard for feedlots to receive feed grain while the continuing heavy rainfall and humidity made some supplies unusable.