Colebatch beef producer Rob Cornish remembers the day of the Thomas Foods International fire well, with a semi load of his Angus cattle among the last to be processed at the Murray Bridge site that morning in January 2018.
"When I heard it on the news I was gutted for them (the Thomases)," he said.
"We normally sell them cattle each week, but we didn't sell cattle for a month - it took some time to do some homework about what to do next."
The Cornishes had supplied the abattoir for the past 20 years, most recently turning off Meat Standards Australia-graded cattle into TFI's Angus Pure program.
Since the fire, about a third of their cattle are being sold to TFI as feeder cattle, delivered to Iranda feedlot, Tintinara, but they have formed a new relationship with a Vic processor for their finished cattle.
Mr Cornish says TFI's plans for a world-class abattoir will have many benefits.
"It is good for producers with more competition in SA," he said.
"It is also good for the truck drivers carting the cattle and to get the trucks off the road, with most cattle now heading into Vic or NSW, and it is good for Murray Bridge and SA employing 2000 people."
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Mr Cornish says they will weigh up their options, but a $30-plus a head freight advantage is a major incentive to support the new abattoir.
"We will definitely sell to them (TFI) again, they have been good to us in the past," he said.
This story first appeared on Stock Journal