Landscape image of the Reiland Angus property

AMG investment in southern NSW processing plant about to bear fruit

Mark Randell, Australian Meat Group.

Australian Meat Group’s large investment in a red meat processing plant in southern NSW capable of processing 1000 cattle, sheep, lambs and goats a day is preparing for a soft launch in November.

Australian Meat Group purchased the old Manildra Group abattoir at Cootamundra and after five years of refurbishment will be sourcing livestock from southern states to supply frozen and chilled beef and lamb export markets to the US, Canada, Japan and Korea. 

Australian Meat Group spokesman Mark Randell said the Cootamundra plant had been designed and built from the ground up, and was now engaging a workforce in preparation for a soft launch in November. 

“The only thing still standing from the old works is a lamb kill floor able to handle 10,000 lambs a day but everything else has been stripped out down to the bare dirt, and now we are in the process of opening with an official soft start in November,” Mr Randell said. 

“We are now processing at our Dandenong facility around 900 head a day in one shift, Cootamundra will build to process over 1000 per day over two shifts.”

Mr Randell was a key speaker at the Pasture Agronomy Service seminar at Wagga Wagga on July 27.

Founded in 2013, Australian Meat Group purchased and refurbished the former Castricum’s Lamb processing plant at Dandenong and has transformed it to a new beef facility capable of processing 1000 cattle per day.

Mr Randell said AMG were keen to procure livestock from a wide area of NSW and northern Victoria for the Cootamundra plant. 

“It is closer for stock at Tamworth to come to Cootamundra for processing than it is to go to Brisbane, so there is a big catchment area for Cootamundra, and we want to make sure people are aware of us,” he said. 

“We have been building a management team over the past four years led by Chris Allen as plant manager so we can comfortably start in November. We are establishing new accommodation for 150 international workers to arrive and start in the near future.

“As it is a greenfield site, it will start slowly at 25 head a daybuilding up numbers over 90 days until we have access to the majority of export markets, including the US, Japan and Korea.”

Mr Randell said the internal fit out included a cold store with a capacity of 7500 pallets, 4500 pallets of frozen product and 2700 pallets of fresh product. The beef chiller capacity is of over 1000 head and a sorting chiller of 350 head. New stockyards can hold 1000 head under cover.

“The plant will be processing 10,000 cattle, sheep, lambs and goats per day on a double shift and will be built to handle weight. 

“We offer a flat rate on a basic grid of 5mm and above but aim to procure livestock that dress over 300kgs.

“We are a 92 per cent hooks-based business with a small amount sourced from saleyards – we don’t do forward contracts but have client’s stock booked in through to December. We quote with the market price.”

AMG value adds with its own beef brands – Josdale premium grass fed Angus, Southern Ranges caters for grass fed British bred cattle (SR+), premium grass fed Angus and Hereford (SR2), and genetically superior grass fed Angus and Hereford (SR4); Southern Plains Organic; Southern Grain of grain fed British bred cattle, and Premium Beef of grass fed British/European cattle.