Australian cows get $100m of road upgrades

The Australian government is to invest AU$100m (£50m) in improving key roads that are used for transporting cattle.

The Northern Australia Beef Roads fund will make targeted upgrades to underpin the future viability of the cattle industry.

Moving cattle in the north, from farm gate to market, involves some of the longest land transport distances of any Australian commodity. Land transports costs in the northern beef industry comprise up to 35% of the market price of livestock.

The long distances raise costs and increase risks – floods and seasonal road closures can isolate producers from markets for extended periods of time, said the government.

The fund will rely on the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation’s logistics modelling, which for the first time looks at the whole cattle supply chain – every farm, road, stopover, port and processing facility in the country.

The modelling allows analysts to test different scenarios, such as how sealing a road will influence transport times and costs. Using this approach, targeted upgrades that improve one road ‘link’ can strengthen the entire supply chain.