An initiative by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is helping to send Australian cattle deep into the heart of Eastern Europe.
By the end of the year Elders expects to have sold 12,000 to 13,000 Angus heifers to Russia after securing a second contract for 5000 to 6000 Angus heifers. The project is being driven by a Putin Beef Project Grant, according to Elders national livestock manager Chris Howie.
Three weeks ago a ship with 6000 Angus heifers left Portland in Victoria to Novorossiysk, Russia, on the northern shore of the Black Sea. Mr. Howie said Elders was the first company to obtain return orders to Russia or any other Eastern European country.
For the December 2011 order Elders was looking to buy Angus heifers 305 to 400 kilograms, aged 10 to 15 months, bred from a registered sire, from known bloodlines, unjoined, and owned by members of Angus Australia. Mr Howie said the buyer of the Angus heifers was a private customer, part of the Russian government. When it came to animal welfare, the heifers were looked after "extremely well".
At present the Russian beef herd sits at 2 mill. head, compared with a much larger dairy herd of 4.5 mill.