Western Downs producer takes first steps in export exploration

Friday, 02 December 2016

Western Downs producer takes first steps in export exploration

Kirillee Donohoe from Wandoan-based Donohoe Cattle Company is looking to the future of beef exports to Asian countries after her return from Shanghai through AccessChina’16 with Food Leaders Australia.

DCC runs four properties that make up 18,000 acres, with about 1200 head of cattle.

Mrs Donohoe, who is Operations Manager for DCC said she joined AccessChina’16, a week-long trade delegation that left Wellcamp Airport for Shanghai in October, to explore the future of beef exports across Asia.

Mrs Donohoe is making those first steps towards export after introductions and site tours across Shanghai. DCC is still in the very early stages of the export journey.

Mrs Donohoe said seeing for herself how products were prepared in Shanghai gave her a greater understanding of the potential market.

She said the 90’s generation was the targeted market for their beef in China.

“It’s very important to them what they put into their bodies… clean and green,” she said.

“Along with social media, they scan the QR code of a product wanting to know the history of the product so paddock-to-plate.”

“With our premium beef, it would be having the calf born on our clean, green grass, knowing where it was processed, how it’s packaged, so the hygiene traceability and ending up with the consumer on their plate.”

The Western Downs Eastern Opportunities project has given Mrs Donohoe the tools, knowledge, information and assistance to take the first steps towards trade markets.

Since April, she and Cecilia Donohoe have been part of the QGC sponsored WDEO program, engaging with Food Leaders Australia to understand trade pathways.

“We’re taking the opportunity to see how we can get into the market and start exporting our beef to China.”

The WDEO program is supported by QGC as part of its commitment to the development of sustainable regional economies and support for the agribusiness industry.

With the China Australia Free Trade Agreement in place for many Asian countries, Mrs Donohoe said now was a great time to focus on export, primarily Angus.    

Mrs Donohoe said now AccessChina’16 was complete, she would look to develop the brand with the help of agencies like FLA.

Food Leaders Australia CEO Dr Ben Lyons said Mrs Donohoe was at the start-up stage of export exploration.

“A project like this is an inspiration because it’s the direction that all producers should be looking to move to,” Dr Lyons said.

“Donohue Cattle Company has done an excellent job with their branding, now the next stage is finding a customer and partner in Asia.”

“It improves their terms of trade, moves them further down the supply chain and closer to the market.

“They may not end up selling directly to that market, but they are closing the gap between consumer and producer.”

More information on WDEO can be found at

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