A planeload of Angus steers has touched down in Chongqing, south-west China, as the first shipment of live cattle under a new export agreement between Australia and China.

A total of 150 Angus and Angus cross steers will go into quarantine for three days then on to the meatworks within 14 days of arrival. Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek. 00:00 00:00 AUDIO: First beef cattle shipment to China goes smoothly for exporter Elders who want to iron out any problems (ABC News)

Elders live export manager, Cameron Hall, said the company had been working closely with Australian and Chinese authorities to ensure they met animal welfare standards under the ESCAS scheme.

 A health protocol, allowing export of Australian cattle to China. was signed in August, but 150 cattle is a small start in a market that was optimistically tipped to take one million head of cattle a year, worth more than $1 billion.

 “The 117,000 breeder cattle we sold last year was worth about a quarter of a billion dollars to us,” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said in July. “Now we’re hoping that over about a decade we can take these numbers up … we’re the first nation to crack this market in slaughter cattle.” Elders chief executive Mark Allison said the export was a milestone.

 “The opening of feeder and slaughter markets will drive competition and demand for Australian cattle, creating new opportunities for exporters and producers alike,” Mr Allison said. The cattle have come from farms in southern New South Wales and northern Victoria. They have been purchased by Chongqing Hondo Agriculture Group Co, which is a feedlotting, processing and distribution company based in south-west China.

 copyright ABC Rural By Sarina Locke