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Roo prices jump

Monday, 3rd February, 2020

Pastoralists’ Association of West Darling Vice President Lachlan Gall. Pastoralists’ Association of West Darling Vice President Lachlan Gall.

By Callum Marshall

The Pastoralists’ Association of West Darling (PAWD) and a local kangaroo shooter have welcomed a move by Macro Meats to up the price of roo meat, but the roo shooter has said drought and non-commercial harvesting has been hurting business.

Macro Meats has increased the price of kangaroo meat to $1.10 per kilo. Yesterday, PAWD Vice President Lachlan Gall said they were “pleased” about the latest price rise.

“Commercial harvesting of kangaroos is widely viewed as the most sustainable and ethical way of managing kangaroo populations,” Mr Gall said.

“Clearly, the processors have orders that they need to fill and to do that they’ve taken the decision to raise their price a little in anticipation that commercial harvesters will go out and harvest more kangaroos for them,” said Mr Gall.

“I understand that the other big processor, GMP or Game Meat Processing, are paying similar sort of money. And the upwards price move by Macro Meats has matched the GMP price rise.

“Obviously, the processors have got demand.”

Mr Gall said the price rise was particularly welcome given the low prices of kangaroo meat for a long time.

“Frustratingly for pastoralists, the price being paid for kangaroos over a long period of time has not been sufficient to encourage kangaroo harvesters to get out there and harvest kangaroos,” he said.

“Clearly, there’s a mismatch between demand and supply. 

“At the moment ... it’s either demand has risen or supply has fallen or both.

“And the best way for a processing business to increase the number of kangaroo carcasses they purchase is to offer the harvesters a higher rate or price.”

Roo shooter Robert Kemp said he was pleased about the price rise as well, adding that it was up to shooters to “lift their game”.

“That’s a good move on their behalf (Macro) for a human consumption quality product,” he said.

“(But) it’s up to the shooters to lift their game to come up to the human consumption quality.”

Mr Kemp said the price per kilo had been around the 85-cent mark for a while.

“Of course, the price increase has slowly been creeping up,” he said.

“But Macro’s really been the first one that’s lifted it over a dollar. That’s a welcome thing.”

Despite the price rise though, Mr Kemp said ongoing drought and non-commercial harvesting were making commercial harvesting very difficult with very small roo numbers across the region.

“It’s probably the biggest thing that’s going on at the moment - numbers are just not there anymore,” he said.

“Apart from the drought, that non-commercial cull that they came up with 12 to 18 months ago, that’s devastated the numbers.

“That’s got to be stopped.

“Virtually nothing left population-wise in the western division. 

“There’s a few around the Broken Hill zone but get out of that and there’s not too much.

“Zone one, the Tibooburra zone, there’s no cull up there apart from a few greys.

“Apart from the drought, the non-commercial culls have devastated everything.”

He said commercial culls should take place first when roo numbers jumped up again following good rain on properties.

“(But) they’re still going on (non-commercial culling) at the present time. You see vehicles going up hunting.

“While there’s no commercial cull, there’s still non-commercial zone one and that’s a major issue.”

Mr Kemp said kangaroo numbers had dropped off big time within a short space of time.

“The numbers were 17 million in 2017,” he said. “The latest count - we haven’t got a total figure - but it’s at least 10 million or lower.”

But, like everyone else, he said shooters were waiting on good rain as well.

“Like everybody, rain’s the key to it all really,” said Mr Kemp.

“Without the rain you might as well pack the show up and forget about it.”

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