Family keeps JBS while bribery bubbles in Brazil

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

JOSE BATISTA Sobrinho, the 84-year-old founder of the global meat giant JBS, is back as CEO. With his two sons in jail facing charges of bribing a series of senior public servants, government bankers and even the current Brazilian president, Michael Temer, JBS is back in control of the company, the biggest meat processor in Brazil, USA and Australia. While the Australian arm of JBS, which has major beef processing plants In Townsville, Rockhampton and Ipswich, says it is not impacted by the Brazilian bribery allegations — that underplays the backstory. JBS, the founder and company, grew from a regional Brazilian meat processor to a global player because of the substantial backing of government-owned or controlled banks. Under a Brazilian government strategy from the 1970s to back select companies to become major players in agricultural processing and industry, the government ensured extraordinarily high levels of lending with advantageous interest rates to allow the companies such as JBS to make huge take-overs to become global champions. This is the model used by Japan and Korea to develop their car and electronics global companies, and now China in a range of industry sectors . The allegation about JBS is that they bribed …

Australian sheep at an ESCAS approved abattoir in Kuwait.
Australian sheep at an ESCAS approved abattoir in Kuwait.

Aussie sheep get fair go during M/E ‘sacrifice’ celebrations

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

AUSTRALIAN livestock exporters and their in-country partners have been proactive in Middle East and South-East Asia markets during Festival of the Sacrifice celebrations in the past week, offsetting the risk of poor animal welfare and supply chain breaches. Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council CEO, Simon Westaway, said that while Australian exporters had played a significant role in achieving further progress in festival markets this year, they had also identified some instances of Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) non-compliance and had reported a number of breaches to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). “Where any Australian sheep were detected outside of approved facilities, including in countries like Malaysia, Oman and Kuwait, our exporters have pro-actively reported the breaches to the regulator and outlined the immediate steps taken, where possible, to return animals to approved supply chains,” Mr Westaway said. Under ESCAS, Australian livestock must not be sold outside of approved supply chains and cannot be purchased for home slaughter or for slaughter at facilities that have not been approved as meeting international animal welfare standards. Special control systems were implemented for Australian sheep in markets celebrating the religious holiday, over and above ESCAS requirements. “Streamlined supply chains, carcase-only sales …

Kylie Stretton is pictured on her property, ‘Clancella Downs’ Charters Towers.
Kylie Stretton on her property, ‘Clancella Downs’ Charters Towers.

NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion finalists announced for 2017

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

CATTLE COUNCIL of Australia (CCA) has announced the state finalists for the 2017 NAB Agribusiness Rising Beef Industry Champion. Now in its seventh year, the Rising Champion Initiative aims to inspire, empower and support 21- to 35-year-olds who are passionate about the Australian beef industry. The 2017 finalists are: Kylie Stretton, Charters Towers, Queensland Shaun Byrnes, Cunderdin, Western Australia Aaron Brown, Wattle Bank, Victoria Darcy Nicklason, Pyengana, Tasmania Tom Heggaton, Galong, New South Wales James Beale, Katherine, Northern Territory James Pitchford, Keith, South Australia CCA Acting CEO, Margo Andrae (pictured), said that the Rising Champions program is about helping the next generation of beef industry leaders to step up. “It is vitally important that the cattle producers and industry leaders of tomorrow have the opportunity to provide input into the direction of their industry today,” Ms Andrae said. “We are very pleased to be giving young people who are passionate about the Australian beef industry exposure to current industry leaders and the chance to develop leadership skills to take them to the next level.” NAB Agribusiness General Manager Khan Horne said that the bank is proud of its long-term support of the Rising Champions. “NAB Agribusiness throws its support behind this …

High-tech biosecurity hub to protect the north

Colin Jackson Current News, Dairy, Enviro-Safe, Farm-Safe, Horticulture, Livestock, Sugar

A NEW biosecurity hub to guard against foreign pests and diseases will be built in Darwin as part of an $8 million joint project by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Australian Government was delivering $3.5 million to create a cutting-edge biosecurity hub at the NT Government’s Berrimah Farm facility in Darwin, plus $500,000 to fight bluetongue virus. “The new biosecurity hub will be more than ten times the size of the current facility, and will house the latest technology in molecular diagnostics, a technique to diagnose and monitor disease and detect risk,” Minister Joyce. “This significant investment in biosecurity in the north, under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, will support faster testing of potential biosecurity threats as they emerge. This includes quickly separating local, sometimes beneficial, insects from exotic fruit flies that could devastate our horticulture exports. “It also means a more effective early warning system for destructive threats, such as new banana diseases. And it means expert rapid diagnosis of exotic diseases that could cripple Australian agriculture.” Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, said the improvements made possible through this joint investment, …

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Queensland irrigators welcome water efficiency funding

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Dairy, Horticulture, Livestock, Produce

QUEENSLAND’S irrigated agriculture industries will benefit from continued productivity improvements and responsible management of water thanks to the State Government investing another $2 million in a critically important program. The 2017-18 Rural Water Use Efficiency Initiative (RWUEI) will provide grants and assistance for farmers across a number of industries to help with keeping water on-farm and also meeting natural resource management outcomes. Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) President, Stuart Armitage, welcomed the continuation of funding for RWUEI, but expressed the sector’s concern over funding uncertainty post 2017-18 with farmers being subject to increasing water-use challenges from climate change. “Queensland irrigators have been subject to and continue to implement wide-scale reform to water use that has seen structural adjustments in the irrigation sector. This has included significant capital investments by farmers and the adoption of water saving infrastructure and practices, and the importance of metering,” said Mr. Armitage. “Farmers understand the simple economic benefits that come from minimising costs, increasing efficiencies and improving productivity. “Governments must accept and acknowledge the role of irrigated agriculture in supplying food, fibre, foliage and increasingly fuel; and the income it generates, particularly in regional communities post 2017-18. “For an efficient and viable agricultural sector in Queensland …

Federal Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon (centre front), behind him is the Independent Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council Ltd, Don Mackay (centre rear), with members of the Beef Supply Chain Round Table held on the first day of the Brisbane Ekka.
Federal Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon (centre front), behind him is the Independent Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council Ltd, Don Mackay (centre rear), with members of the Beef Supply Chain Round Table held on the first day of the Brisbane Ekka.

Fitzgibbon tests his agriculture model at Brisbane Ekka Round Table

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

TO PINPOINT his approach to Australian agriculture if he were to become Agriculture Minister in a future Labor Government, Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon arrived in Brisbane on the first day of The Ekka to lead a Beef Supply Chain Round Table of industry representatives and members of the Federal Labor parliamentary team. His objective was two-fold: “I wanted every stakeholder in the supply chain in the same room discussing both the challenges and the opportunities in the beef sector — but I am also testing this as a model for what would be my approach if I’m fortunate enough to become the Minister,” he said. “I want to be highly consultative and want all the players in the room when we are discussing really important issues — where different views can be aired, discussed and debated.” Included in the parliamentary delegation were Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr; Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment, Jason Clare; Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Shayne Neumann; and Shadow Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Australia and Workplace Relations, Lisa Chesters. As Member for Bendigo, Ms Chesters is being touted as a future Agriculture Minister. …

Pimelea clinical symptoms: fluid swelling in jaw, neck and brisket.
Pimelea clinical symptoms: fluid swelling in jaw, neck and brisket.

Pimelea cattle poisoning research happening now

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

QUEENSLAND cattle producers are being encouraged to collect Pimelea plant samples and assist scientists who are researching ways to stop cattle being poisoned by the toxic plant. Scientists from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the University of Queensland joined with AgForce representatives to provide a Pimelea research project update to about 90 cattle producers at a forum in St George this week. AgForce Southern Inland Queensland President Robyn Bryant said primary producers across Australia had lost hundreds of cattle to Pimelea poisoning in recent years, and the problem was getting worse. “Pimelea is a native, toxic plant that occurs over one third of Australia’s pastoral area across five states causing seasonal cattle deaths, reduced weight gain in surviving cattle and rendering large pasture areas too risky for grazing,” she said. “Graziers, stock agents, agribusinesses and councils between Winton in Queensland to the Broken Hill region in New South Wales desperately want answers to reduce the financial and emotional impacts of Pimelea, and this research project is the first step in that process.” AgForce policy officer, Marie Vitelli said scientists were using an artificial rumen (part of the cow’s stomach) which would be trickle fed Pimelea plant material to …

Building beef industry’s leadership capacity

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

EMERGING LEADERS within the grassfed beef sector will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to take on industry leadership roles through a major new Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) investment. The $1.9 million Building capacity in the Grassfed Beef Industry project offers a suite of professional development initiatives for both current and aspiring industry leaders that will be delivered through the Cattle Council of Australia (CCA), on behalf of MLA, over the next two years. The project will contribute to the achievement of two of the highest priorities in the Meat Industry’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 (MISP 2020); ‘building leadership capability’ and ‘protecting and promoting our industry’. MLA Managing Director Richard Norton said strong leadership, a skilled workforce and the ability to attract the best and brightest minds to the industry were key ingredients to securing the potential of the Australian red meat and livestock industry. “The development of capable leaders with a whole of value chain, global perspective will ensure there are highly skilled producers who can continue to represent industry and effectively contribute to policy decisions into the future,” Mr Norton said. “While developing the skills base of the current generation, this project is also about developing emerging talent and …

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David Foote is interviewed by Pete Lewis after the breakfast.

David Foote addresses Ekka breakfast — everyone gets a prize

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

AFTER 30 years working across some contrastingly diverse industries, from mining and militant unionism in Western Australia to finding myriad successes in Queensland’s beef industry, Australian Country Choice group managing director, David Foote, stepped onto the stage at today’s Ekka Breakfast to deliver the 2017 Malcolm McCosker Memorial Address. His subject was “the importance of leadership and a single voice,” and while he expressed reservations before making some pertinent remarks, there were very few industry leaders, representatives and organisations that didn’t get a ‘mention in dispatches’. In showman parlance, everyone got a prize. Sponsored by the Rural Press Club of Queensland, and held annually in the Royal International Convention Centre at the RNA Showgrounds, this year’s attendance of more than 700 is justification of the growing importance of agriculture in Queensland and Australia, and especially the support from the city for the rural community at large. The keynote address each year honours the memory of the late Malcolm McCosker, who passed away on December 4, 2011, at the age of 73. He joined the Queensland Country Life editorial staff on November 11, 1961, and had intended to retire on his 50th anniversary. Illness forced him to finish full-time work a …

US cattle herd to grow until 2020

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

THE US CATTLE HERD hit 103 million last month — and is expected to grow until 2020. And that will continue to pressure cattle prices to fall. In a major threat to Australian cattle producers and meatpackers, the USA expects reduced imports while at the same time increasing exports of prime cuts to export markets, including China which only opened-up earlier this year after a 14 year ban was lifted. US meatpacker Tyson Foods said after a tough run, beef was now cost competitive — Tyson is also a major processor of pork and chicken. Threats include currency and the lack of labour (low unemployment and slowing of Mexican migration was putting pressure on wages). Drought in their mid-western states was causing an upsurge in cattle for sale. But overall, Tyson believes the next three years will be one of expansion for the US beef processing industry. Limits on the import of cheap Brazilian beef, over health concerns, also helps the US cattle industry.

Concerns expressed for unregistered veterinary chemical products

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Enviro-Safe, Livestock

RETAILERS are advised to use caution when stocking veterinary chemical products for use in or on horses, following Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) concern that a number of natural horse products may not be registered. According to APVMA CEO, Dr Chris Parker, the regulator is seeing a number of veterinary chemical horse products claiming to be natural, organic or chemical-free on the market that are not APVMA-registered and are therefore illegal to import, possess, advertise and supply. “The definition of a veterinary product is broad and inclusive under Australian law. This means both natural and man-made substances are regulated by the APVMA if they claim to have a therapeutic effect on an animal. “The market for veterinary horse products has expanded in recent years and many new products marketed as natural, organic, or chemical-free may not have been assessed by the APVMA,” Dr Parker said. “It’s a concern because some of these products claim to have a therapeutic effect or enhance the physical qualities of horses, but have not been independently assessed to confirm they are actually safe or work as claimed. “Businesses have a duty of care to make sure the veterinary chemical products they promote and …

PrecisionHawk drone

Aerial drone partnership gives wings to new approaches

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

AN INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP that will engage directly with producers to develop an aerial drone strategy for the benefit of the red meat and livestock industry was announced today at an MLA BeefUp event in Nebo. The new partnership, involving Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and Ruralco Holdings Ltd (Ruralco), will see the organisations refine new approaches to monitoring and maintaining pasture and herds through aerial drones. The project will also map the current use of aerial drones and identify the future development needs around how aerial drones can be used more effectively on-farm. MLA and Ruralco Queensland are reaching out locally to engage producers in the discussion around research and development (R&D) to drive beneficial outcomes for producers and their businesses. The collaboration will focus on developing Australian-specific insights and unique algorithms for livestock producers with Ruralco’s partner PrecisionHawk, the leading drone, data collection and analytics company in the United States. Initially running for 12 months, the project will engage with producers and rural communities through a series of hands-on demonstrations showing the current capabilities of aerial drone technologies. MLA General Manager – Research, Development and Innovation, Sean Starling, said the new partnership with Ruralco is the first step in …

Yanks tank on beef to Japan

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

BY EXCEEDING their quota of frozen beef to Japan by a mere 115 tonnes last quarter, US exporters have triggered a rise in tariffs for the rest of 2017 from 38.5 to 50 per cent. That gives Australian beef exporters to Japan a further advantage with the 28 per cent bilateral (so called ‘free trade’) agreement with Japan. At a time when currency moves were favouring US exporters and lifting costs of Aussie beef, the tariff was timely relief. But the Yanks are moving into maximum whinge mode, saying the Japanese food service industry prefers their frozen belly cuts and the American beef processor is just the victim of their success. The US beef import rules to Japan state that if their volume increases by more than 17 per cent in a quarter, the tariff increases to 50 per cent (which only highlights how weird and petty trade negotiations must be). But the rules are the rules and the Japanese are nothing but sticklers for rules. Interestingly, the US beef industry seems more willing to cop this temporary tariff than alert President Trump, whose diplomatic blundering they seem to want to avoid.

Regional transport and logistics hub can benefit beef

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

PLANS by the Rockhampton Regional Council to establish the region as a “transport and logistics hub” could deliver significant benefits for the beef industry. According to AgForce transport committee chair, Leo Neill-Ballantine, a trial air freight project had real potential for chilled beef products from the Rockhampton region. “Demand for the high quality food and fibre we produce is growing, but transport can make up 30 to 40 per cent of the cost of production, so any developments that provide more options to get farm goods to market is always welcome,’ he said. “Air freight is more expensive, but it could prove attractive for use with premium products that require faster delivery, such as chilled premium beef. “The freight operators would also need to be commercially competitive with other centres like the Brisbane West airport at Toowoomba. “More air freight could also mean less trucks on the roads, which is always a good thing on our ageing road network.” Mr Neill-Ballantine said it was good to see governments at all levels looking at opportunities to improve the primary production supply chain. “This air freight announcement comes only weeks after type-one road trains began rolling through Rockhampton to deliver cattle directly …

Producer representatives sought for MLA Board Selection Committee

Colin Jackson Livestock

CANDIDATES are being sought to fill three producer representative positions to the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Board Selection Committee at this year’s Annual General Meeting to be held on November 22 in Alice Springs. The role of the Selection Committee is to call for applications, review, interview and then report on the suitability of candidates for election to the MLA Board. The Committee is currently made up of two non-voting MLA Directors, three representatives nominated by producer peak councils and four producer members who have been directly elected by MLA members — one sheepmeat, one grainfed cattle and two grassfed cattle representatives. At this year’s AGM, MLA members have the opportunity to directly elect three producer representatives to the MLA Board Selection Committee for a three-year term, from nominees in three producer categories: One grassfed cattle representative; One sheepmeat representative; and, One grainfed cattle representative. All producer nominees are put forward to the AGM for a vote by the producer members in each class. Members wishing to nominate a person, or wishing to nominate themselves for election by MLA producer members to the MLA Board Selection Committee at the 2017 MLA AGM, must give written notice to MLA by 22 …

Cattle producers sought for Reef Grazing Innovation Project

Colin Jackson Livestock

QUEENSLAND cattle producers in Great Barrier Reef catchment areas are being encouraged to take part in an innovation project that aims to improve Reef water quality outcomes and increase farm profitability. AgForce Queensland Senior Policy Adviser, Andrew Freeman, has advised expressions of interest were now open for grant applications under the Reef Trust III: Reef Alliance Grazing Innovation Project. “The grazing innovation project is about fostering innovation that could reduce erosion, sediments and nutrients from grazing lands in Reef catchments, while also increasing farm profitability and increasing the number of graziers adopting improved practices,” he said. “It’s about developing innovative solutions to difficult problems, either through new practices or new technology, or by applying existing practices or technology in a novel way. “There has been considerable research into understanding how graziers can help to improve water quality outcomes across Great Barrier Reef catchments, but more work needs to be done to validate the findings and apply it on the ground on grazing properties. “An independent technical advisory panel will be established to assess applications and provide recommendations to the Australian Government for approval, while graziers implementing innovative practice change will be supported throughout the project by AgForce and Reef Alliance …

New committee to review Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock

Colin Jackson Livestock

THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture and Water Resources is establishing a technical advisory committee to conduct a review of Australia’s Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL), and is seeking suitable applications for membership. Deputy Secretary Malcolm Thompson said ASEL was an important component of Australia’s world leading livestock export system, setting the standards of health and welfare that exporters must meet during the transport of Australian livestock overseas. “The committee we’re establishing will look at the standards for the export of livestock to ensure they are fit for purpose and take into account the latest animal health and welfare scientific information and advice,” Mr Thompson said. “This technical committee will be made up of an independent chair and experts in animal health and welfare, regulatory design and the livestock industry. Members will be required to meet specific eligibility requirements and will be selected on the basis of their skills, experience and qualifications rather than their affiliation with an organisation. “This is about getting the science right behind any proposed updates to the standards — there will be a number of opportunities for stakeholders to contribute to the standards throughout the review process. “We anticipate appointing an independent chair and four …

Bright future heralded for autonomous livestock management

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Livestock

Rockhampton: July 11, 2017 CQUNIVERSITY today reported on the changing face of Australian farming and heralded a bright future for autonomous livestock management. Researchers are evaluating the latest technology and animal behaviour software algorithms used to automatically deliver daily data on individual animal performance, including growth rates, fertility, pregnancy status, parentage and date of calving. They are also looking to broader-scale co-operation, through more integrated data systems using emerging technologies such as Blockchain to support industry-wide goals such as genetic breeding values and enhanced marketing strategies. Telstra CEO Andrew Penn was present for updates on a pivotal PhD research project by Don Menzies, which was backed by a Telstra scholarship. Drawing on his extensive beef industry background knowledge, Mr Menzies has been trialling automated data systems to identify maternal parentage, fertility and calving events. He’s been able to report on the potential of Walk-over-Weighing (WoW) and radiolocation ear tag technology, including automated calving devices. CQUniversity’s Precision Livestock Management (PLM) team is now exploring the optimal configuration for an end-to-end autonomous livestock management system. “We wish to leverage the technologies, computational capabilities and communications to deliver decisions to boost the profitability of the beef industry, particularly in northern Australia,” says CQUniversity …

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Colour your week of Ekka with agricultural naturals

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Cotton, Dairy, Horticulture, Livestock, Sugar

QUEENSLAND-GROWN wool and cotton, highlighted with leather, bamboo and silk, will be the agricultural centrepiece of the Natural Fibre Fashion Parade carrying the theme ‘Back to Nature’ as part of the 140th Royal Brisbane Show from August 11 to 20. Directed by Laura Churchill, the runway will feature 27 established, emerging and regional designers for one fabulous display of style. And in the newly-named Agricultural Education Hall, there will be more educational activities for children than ever before, including the new Field to Fork interactive rural journey where kids will discover how their food gets from the field to their fork. In order of the agricultural cycle — composting, soil analysis, growing and planting, harvesting and processing — they’ll take part in activities such as grinding grains into flour and then using the flour to bake healthy muffins. This year’s annual event — the only major state event to lay claim to such longevity — is celebrating this milestone by introducing for the first time, half-price entry and an expanded fireworks spectacular of two displays each evening. Queensland’s largest annual event has a remarkable history, being staged every year except for just two — in 1919 due to the Spanish …

More BeefUp events for Queensland producers

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Livestock

BEEF PRODUCERS across Queensland have the chance to tap into regionally-relevant research findings and practical tools to improve their business at five additional Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) BeefUp Days scheduled for this year. Hosted by the regional committees of the North Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC), the popular events will also provide producers with the chance to provide feedback on what areas of research, development and adoption (RD&A) are most appropriate to them and directly contribute to how their levies are invested. For Western Queensland beef producers, the next BeefUp Day will be held in Barcaldine Town Hall on Wednesday, July 12. MLA Managing Director, Richard Norton, will attend the event to provide an update on MLA’s activities, while other speakers will address issues including building multi-generational enterprises and the five golden rules to create a high performing agribusiness. MLA BeefUp Day co-ordinator, Barb Bishop, will facilitate a producer consultation session to enable producers to have their say about RD&A priorities relevant to their region. Beef producers throughout other regions of the state will have the opportunity to access similar regionally-relevant information and insights, and have input into setting RD&A priorities with BeefUp Days to be held at: WARWICK: …

Type-one road train a monumental movement for industry

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

THE FIRST type-one road train made its way through Rockhampton last week-end to deliver cattle directly to a Rockhampton processor — a move that will save primary producers time and money. According to AgForce Transport spokesperson, Leo Neill-Ballantine, this was a monumental truck movement for the industry and will have significant benefits for producers, animal welfare, fatigue management for drivers and processors. “We are delighted to see the first type-one road train has been able to make the journey over the week-end after successfully gaining a permit through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator,” he said. “Previously, type-one road trains have had to downsize at Gracemere before heading into town to the processors. “They were required to drop one trailer before heading into town, meaning two single trips had to be made to the meatworks, or cross-load stock onto B-doubles. “This has not only meant an additional cost, it has meant an extra two hours per load in labour to move cattle from one vehicle to another. “Demand for our high-quality food and fibre is growing, but transport can make up 30 to 40 per cent of the cost of production, so any investment in infrastructure that makes it safer, easier …

Stanbroke corporate butcher Doug Piper shows the Tomahawk beef cut at the Norman Hotel's Crafty Cuts lunch.

Carnivores gather where vegetarians fear to tread

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Livestock

ARE BEEF EATERS becoming more discerning in the cuts they buy and the quality they expect? This was evident when about 110 guests gathered at Woolloongabba’s Norman Hotel in Brisbane to not only partake of a Tongue-to-Tail Lunch — with the added spectacle of watching a beef carcase being broken-down in a live butchering demonstration. Regarded as Brisbane’s worst vegetarian restaurant, the Norman Hotel staged the inaugural event last year, and according to manager, Andrew Forde, due to its success, has adopted it as an annual event. The butchering expertise came from Stanbroke Beef, who grow, feedlot, kill and market the Diamantina Beef and Sanchoku Wagyu brands. While their boss, Brendan Menegazzo — one of the country’s wealthiest cattle barons — joined in the lunch, Stanbroke’s corporate butcher, Doug Piper, and experienced butcher from the floor of the Grantham Abattoir, Kieren Hoffman, gave a slice-by-slice explanation of the varieties of cuts that can be gained from a carcase “There’s a good story behind the Stanbroke brand, a 100 per cent Queensland/Australian-owned company” Doug Piper told the audience. During the demonstration he held-up a brisket, which he described as “the pork belly of the animal.” He suggested smoking it: “You can …

New guide to help reduce weed risks when feeding cattle

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

A NEW GUIDE has been launched to help Queensland primary producers reduce the risk of spreading weeds when sourcing hay and other fodder for their cattle. AgForce weeds committee chair, Ivan Naggs, said demand for fodder had skyrocketed as a result of the ongoing drought, and it was important primary producers took steps to prevent the spread of weeds when sourcing and transporting fodder for their cattle. “During dry seasons and in times of drought when there is reduced pasture cover, producers need to source fodder like hay, silage and forage sorghum to feed their cattle and keep them healthy,” he said. “Although many sources of fodder are sourced locally and are quality assured with minimal weed risk, at times fodder of unknown quality may need to be imported from further afield, which could contain seeds and weed species new to a region. “Many weeds can be toxic to cattle, while the competition from weeds with pasture leads to reduced stocking capacity and erosion. With weeds already costing Queensland an estimated $600 million every year, it’s so important that primary producers do whatever they can to reduce weed spread risks and this new guide will help them do just that.” …

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Philip Reid has applied for a development permit to more than quadruple the 4,000-head Paringa feedlot to 17,600 SCU (standard cattle units).

Property acquisitions allow for feedlot expansion

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Livestock

“WHAT do you reckon my son has gone and done this time?” With that short sentence, retired grazier and raconteur, Laurie Reid, displays the enormous pride in his son, Philip, who has taken his parents’ former property, Paringa, to an entirely new level in size, scope and possibilities for the future. We’re sitting in his kitchen discussing the attributes of Chivas Regal and perusing the magnificent view over Emu Park (Rockhampton) and the aquamarine seas surrounding Great Keppel Island. Sometimes it appears Laurie has a contrasting vision that flicks between the ever-present seascape to the paddocks of his former grazing country, where he ran a prized Braford herd. Laurie — who goes by the name of ‘Capella Fella’ in poetry circles, especially bush festivals, and sometimes complete with kilt — was the subject of a cover story in Blue’s Country Magazine in February 2012 to acknowledge his turning 80. Yet retirement is only a word — he stays occupied with the local men’s shed, indulges in woodwork, climbs ladders (much to the anguish of family), repairs furniture for friends and is the rare male in the local all-female choir. The Reid name is well-known around Woodenbong, in northern New South …

Pimelea simplex infestation — Jenny Milson.

Research into Pimelea cattle poisoning gets underway

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

A MAJOR research project to overcome Pimelea plant poisoning in cattle will now get underway after AgForce successfully negotiated a funding model for the project with Meat and Livestock Australia. AgForce General President, Grant Maudsley, said primary producers across Australia had lost hundreds of cattle to Pimelea poisoning in recent years — and the problem was getting worse. “Pimelea is a native, toxic plant that occurs over one third of Australia’s pastoral area across five states causing seasonal cattle deaths, reduced weight gain in surviving cattle and rendering large pasture areas too risky for grazing,” he said. “Graziers, stock agents, agribusinesses and councils between Winton (Queensland) to the Broken Hill region (New South Wales) desperately want answers to reduce the financial and emotional impacts of Pimelea, and this research project is the first step in that process.” Mr Maudsley said nearly 40 Western Queensland producers had joined together to pledge cash and in-kind support for Pimelea research, which had helped leverage co-matching funding from Meat and Livestock Australia’s Donor Company. “This is a brand new way for grass roots producers to drive research and development to deliver solutions to a major problem affecting their industry,” he said. “While an initial …

Casino Beef Week on a winner

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

THE COALITION Government has guaranteed $1 million to support delivery of the annual Casino Beef Week events from 2017 to 2020 in recognition of the central role the beef industry plays in the local region and across the nation. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, said the beef cattle industry was the single largest contributor to Australian agriculture with a gross production value of $15 billion last year. “The beef industry is a major export earner for Australia with more than 70 per cent of total beef production now shipped to more than 100 countries,” Minister Joyce said. “The Northern Rivers region plays a major role in growing both our domestic and international markets. It is one of the reasons this government is committed to Beef Week and to building the capacity of the beef industry in the region and to enhance a national focus for the event. “This is an important event for our beef producers to promote their high quality products, it’s another way we’re enabling greater returns through the farm gate.” Mr Hogan welcomed the million dollar commitment saying the beef industry had been a …

Peter Trefort speaking
Peter Trefort accepts his induction into the WA Agricultural Hall of Fame from Dr Rob Wilson, President of Royal Agricultural Society of WA, and WA Governor and Patron of the WA RAS, Kerry Sanderson.

Awarded for innovation that progressed an industry

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Livestock

BOARD MEMBER of the Co-operative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) and leading Western Australian lamb producer, Peter Trefort, has been inducted into the WA Royal Agricultural Society’s Hall of Fame. He received the honour at a ceremony in Perth in recognition of his contributions to both the sheep industry and agricultural education. Mr Trefort (pictured), who manages his family’s property at Narrogin, WA, has been successful in developing and commercialising an innovative new range of lamb cuts to extend markets both domestically and internationally, and served for 20 years on WA’s Combined Advisory Council of Agricultural Colleges, including three years as chairman. He also served for 14 years on the board of Meat & Livestock Australia, and in 2007 received an honorary doctorate from Murdoch University for his contribution to industry innovation and participation in meat quality and lamb supply chain research projects. “I never thought I would be in line for receiving anything like this,” Mr Trefort said. “It’s a great surprise and a great honour.” Nominees are inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame based on their agricultural achievements, their leadership, vision, skill and their impact on Western Australian agriculture. Mr Trefort’s career includes more …

Livestock exporters welcome Budget commitment for LGAP implementation

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

AUSTRALIAN livestock exporters have welcomed confirmation in the 2017/18 Federal Budget of $8.3 million over four years in Commonwealth funding to support the future implementation of the Livestock Global Assurance Program (LGAP). LGAP is a proposed global conformity assessment program for livestock exports that protects the welfare of animals, fosters continual improvement and the attainment of best practice. The first-tranche in Commonwealth funding support for LGAP follows an election commitment made by the Coalition last year. ALEC CEO Simon Westaway (pictured) said the funds from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) would help progress the implementation process. “The Australian livestock export industry, which delivers $2 billion in annual exports, welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment towards LGAP, which we believe can further strengthen and drive improvements across global supply chains,” Mr Westaway said. “Australian livestock exporters are committed to delivering and demonstrating enhanced compliance with Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) standards as well as driving animal welfare improvements across global livestock supply chains. Our industry continues to back our world leading approach to animal welfare outcomes in the international livestock trade. “This funding allocation confirms the Australian Government shares that vision and commitment to improved animal welfare outcomes and …

Applications sought for three MLA Board Director positions

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

MEAT & LIVESTOCK Australia (MLA) has called for applications to fill three non-executive director positions on its Board. Each year, as part of the Board selection process, three non-executive directors are elected to the Board, with applications for the current round closing on Friday, June 2, 2017. MLA’s Board is skills-based and comprises 10 directors, including nine non-executive directors and the Managing Director. Appointments to the Board are for a term of three years, with retiring Directors able to nominate for re-election. The role of the MLA Board is to provide strategic direction to the management of the company, ensuring that appropriate performance goals are set and achieved, risk is managed within the Board’s risk appetite, corporate governance, and investment criteria to ensure the interests of industry are taken into account and funds are invested effectively and in the right areas. As a skills-based Board and in line with current specific requirements, candidates with extensive skills and experience in at least one of the following areas are encouraged to apply: Australian beef production — including demonstrated knowledge and/or experience of northern production systems and knowledge and experience in one or more of the following: Pasture management, genetics and nutrition; an understanding …

HAVE YOUR SAY: Lending practices as they pertain to primary production

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Cotton, Current News, Dairy, Horticulture, Livestock, Produce, Sugar

A SENATE SELECT Committee on Lending to Primary Production Customers was established on February 16 to inquire and report on the regulation and practices of financial institutions in relation to primary production industries, including agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Committee Membership consists of: Chair: Senator Malcolm Roberts, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Deputy Chair: Senator John Williams, The Nationals, NSW Member: Senator Chris Back, Liberal Party of Australia, WA Member: Senator Anthony Chisholm, Australian Labor Party, Qld Member: Senator Jane Hume, Liberal Party of Australia, Vic Member: Senator Claire Moore, Australian Labor Party, Qld Terms of Reference will have particular reference to: The lending, and foreclosure and default practices, including constructive and non-monetary default processes; The roles of other service providers to, and agents of, financial institutions, including valuers and insolvency practitioners, and the impact of these services; The appropriateness of internal complaints handling and dispute management procedures within financial institutions; and The appropriateness of loan contract terms particular to the primary production industries, including loan-to-value ratios and provision of reasonable written notice. The committee has also resolved that: In conducting the inquiry, the committee will not investigate, or seek to resolve or adjudicate disputes between customers, banks or other parties; and …

Livestock exporters welcome Australian Farm Institute report

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

THE AUSTRALIAN Livestock Exporters’ Council has welcomed the release of a new report providing a detailed analysis of Australia’s $2 billion-plus livestock export industry. The research report, Enhancing the Competitiveness of the Australian Livestock Export Industry, was undertaken by the Australian Farm Institute for the Livestock Export Program (LEP), a collaborative initiative of LiveCorp and Meat & Livestock Australia. ALEC CEO, Simon Westaway, said the report was timely given the global value of the international livestock trade amongst 130 livestock exporting nations had grown significantly since 2001, due to increased demand for dietary protein in developing nations, and a reduction in international trade barriers. “Research into the economic impact of Australia’s livestock export industries, and future ways to improve its competitiveness, is a vital ingredient in ensuring we remain the global leader in the live trade, in terms of market access and animal welfare standards,” Mr Westaway said. “The report highlights that Australia’s livestock exports are worth approximately $1.8 billion annually in farmgate returns alone, and earns well in excess of $2 billion annually in export revenue. Beef cattle exports are worth $1.35 billon; dairy cattle exports are worth about $170 million, sheep exports are worth $250 million, and goats exports are …

Wild dog fencing support must continue to grow sheep flock

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

QUEENSLAND sheep and wool producers are calling for continued government investment in wild dog exclusion fencing to help revitalise the industry, create jobs and boost regional economies. AgForce Sheep and Wool President, Alan Rae, applauded the efforts of both the Federal and State Governments for the assistance they had given so far to help sheep producers build fences to protect their flock, but said the job was not yet done. “Wild dogs have had a devastating effect on the Queensland sheep industry for decades, but the roll-out of fencing supported by government programs is helping the sector rebuild,” he said. “Landholder surveys from the central-west Queensland area alone indicate that sheep numbers will almost double from 365,600 to 714,200, generating an additional $8.5 million in wages from shearing, crutching and lamb marking. “It’s clear that rebuilding Queensland’s sheep numbers will help build Queensland’s regional communities, bringing renewed prosperity and increased employment opportunities.” Mr Rae said AgForce was calling on the Federal and State Governments to each contribute an extra $5 million a year, to be matched by landholder contributions, to ensure more exclusion fencing could be constructed to protect sheep flocks throughout Queensland. “Without exclusion fences, there’s no sheep, it’s …

Sheep and lamb markets set to be strongest on record

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

AUSTRALIA’S sheep and lamb markets are predicted to strengthen further with near record prices, as production and slaughter forecasts are revised lower for 2017 according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) quarterly update of its 2017 Australian Sheep Industry Projections. MLA’s Manager of Market Information Services, Ben Thomas, said the market was being influenced by a combination of factors, including extremely strong producer intent to retain ewes for flock rebuilding, the current strength of the wool market and low grain prices. “Lamb slaughter is expected to contract further this year, revised down a further 500,000 head from original predictions to 21.5 million head for 2017 and down 1.5 million head, or seven per cent, on the 2016 record,” Mr Thomas said. “In terms of availability throughout the year, on the ground reports suggest a reasonably strong supply through to the end of April, before numbers will become tight until the new spring flush. “Lamb production is expected to fall six per cent year-on-year in 2017 to 481,600 tonnes carcase weight (cwt), before rebounding back above the 500,000 tonnes mark in 2019. “Similar to lamb slaughter, mutton processing is also expected to contract further year-on-year, with a 1.2 million head, or …

Young lady with passion for ag wins Gus McGown bursary

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

MITCHELL MERINO STUD breeder, Felicity Brumpton, will receive a $5,000 education scholarship as the winner of the annual Gus McGown bursary. Felicity has spent her life promoting merino sheep around the country at numerous Agricultural shows, and has represented Queensland at the 2014 National Merino Sheep Judging Competition, where she won the national title. AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said Miss Brumpton (pictured), from the property ‘Baynham’ near Mitchell, was chosen because of her commitment to the future of Queensland agriculture. “Felicity is currently in her third year of studying a Bachelor of Animal Science at the University of New England,” Mr Maudsley said. “I hope this helps her further her career in agriculture, while also giving us all a chance to remember Gus McGown, one of Queensland’s finest graziers.” Miss Brumpton said she was honoured to be awarded the bursary, as she was passionate about Australian agriculture, particularly the grazing sector and the bright future it offered. “I look forward to using all provided opportunities to attend and become a member of many industry events associated with AgForce to assist them in promoting our agricultural industries like Gus McGown did,” she said. “My ambitions are to be able to …

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Georgie Somerset: A belief that agriculture is a cornerstone for the Australian economy…and will take connections across industry to her position on the ABC Board.

George Somerset: a powerful, logical rural voice for ABC Board

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

THE APPOINTMENT of AgForce’s South East Queensland Regional Director, Georgie Somerset, to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Board ensures that rural and regional Queensland has a voice on the national stage, AgForce said today. Mrs Somerset has been appointed as a non-executive director for the next five years, and is the only regional representative on the eight-member ABC Board. AgForce General President Grant Maudsley congratulated Mrs Somerset on her well-deserved appointment and described it as a massive win for Queensland producers. “Georgie has worked tirelessly over many years to advocate for rural and regional Queensland, all while running a family beef cattle farming business in Durong with her husband, Robert,” he said. “She is a long-time AgForce member who knows first-hand the issues affecting rural and regional Queensland because she lives and breathes it.” As well as being the AgForce South-East Queensland Regional Director and sitting on numerous AgForce committees, Georgie is also a director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Queensland, QRAA and Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service. “As part of the AgForce Board, Georgie is focused on telecommunications and ensuring that there is equitable access, service, affordability, data quality and quantity for all rural and …

Why farmers must fight — and governments must be fairer adjudicators

Colin Jackson Cotton, Current News, Horticulture, Livestock, Markets, Sugar

AGALERT DOESN’T APOLOGISE for concentrating so much on the Wilmar dispute, even for all those farmers who don’t grow sugar cane. That’s because it goes to the heart of modern farming and current business practices. It’s a very 21st century issue much at the heart of current frustration with the political and business system by the mass of populations in western democracies around the world. Politics and business is not regarded as being about ‘what’s fair’ and ‘what’s good for as many as possible in our populations and for our country’. It’s about who can aggressively win the most. A recent stockbroker report praised a number of companies as terrific investments because they cornered a monopoly which gave them pricing power over customers, and buying power to screw suppliers as employees. That’s what CEOs earn the very big bucks for. To put their conscience in a box and grab monopoly, and screw away at everyone’s they deal with — all, of course, behind the nice politically correct mission statements about serving customers, suppliers, employees, etc, etc. CSR was a tough, paternalistic, authoritarian sugar miller for a century, but they took the big bucks from Wilmar — $1.7 billion or about …

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Former federal politician, leader of the Labor Opposition 2001-2003 and chairman of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, Simon Crean, with ‘doyen’ of the industry, Dr Richard Trivett, chairman of global livestock export company, Austrex, member and chairman of the Livestock Export Research and Development Committee and chair of the Australian Rural Export Animal Welfare committee.

Livex relies on good welfare

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

FORMER FEDERAL minister Simon Crean says that animal welfare will continue to dominate live export of cattle and sheep. He also says that the welfare issues had to be controlled not only in Australia, but through the whole supple chain, which was a very difficult business and political issue in some Asian countries. Addressing the Rural Press Club in Brisbane yesterday on “Australia’s place in the global livestock trade,” the former Leader of the Australian Labor Party and long-serving Federal Minister, Crean was appointed chairman of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council in November 2014, and was recently re-elected for a second two-year term. He was on the front line of government when Australian cattle exports to Indonesia were suddenly suspended, and he’s worked with the industry ever since to secure its future, while satisfying the most stringent of requirements. A former Leader of the Australian Labor Party and long-serving Federal Minister, Mr Crean was appointed chairman of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council in November 2014 and was recently re-elected for a second two-year term. He has been an interested supporter of the live trade for more than three decades, having first toured the live sheep supply chain in the Middle …

Producers wanted for smart sensor stock theft trials

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

CENTRAL QUEENSLAND University researchers are calling on producers to participate in a research program testing smart sensor technology as a means of preventing and detecting stock theft. In collaboration with AgForce, the research project is aimed at developing a new livestock monitoring system which can be used by landholders and law enforcement agencies to remotely monitor animals. The 2001‐2002 National Farm Crime Survey, conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology, found that livestock theft was the most commonly reported rural crime affecting 6% of farms, involving 186,777 animals with an estimated annual cost of $16 million. However, most incidents (65%) go unreported and the true cost is more likely to be closer to $67 million a year. “Stock theft can range from small incursions paring off a handful of animals from larger groups, all the way through to major criminal operations in which entire herds are mustered into portable yards and shipped out in semi‐trailers,” project leader Associate Professor Mark Trotter (pictured right) said. “In all cases the opportunity to steal is a result of the inability of the farmer to constantly monitor the location and behavior of their livestock.” CQUniversity’s Precision Livestock Management team is recognized as a national …

Applications called for on-farm producer demonstration sites

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

LIVESTOCK PRODUCER groups seeking to lift productivity and profitability are invited to apply for funding to run local projects aimed at validating the on-farm benefits of integrating Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) research findings and innovations into their businesses. MLA’s Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) program provides funding of up to $25,000 a year for a maximum of three years, for up to ten beef projects, five sheep projects and two goat projects that are able to commence in 2017. MLA’s General Manager — Producer Consultation and Adoption, Michael Crowley, said the PDS program was aimed at shortening the time lag between technological innovation and adoption of practices by producers at a local level. “The PDS program supports groups of livestock producers to demonstrate and validate the business value of integrating new management practices, research and development outputs and associated skills into local farming systems,” Mr Crowley said. “The key outcome of a PDS is producer adoption of the demonstrated innovation and management practices, resulting in improved profitability and productivity.” Mr Crowley said a PDS must be initiated by a producer group, address a key adoption issue limiting enterprise productivity and profitability and demonstrate positive results when adopted by producers. MLA …

WA livestock producers can contribute to RD&A priorities

Colin Jackson Livestock

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN livestock producers will have the opportunity to have their say on sheepmeat and grassfed beef research, development and adoption (RD&A) priorities at a producer forum and field walk at Dandaragan on February 22. Hosted by the WA Livestock Research Council (WALRC), the event will provide producers with the latest Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) research and allow them to have direct input into helping guide future RD&A relevant to their region. The event is one of a series of RD&A information sessions specifically for WA producers being held this year by MLA. The day will start with a field walk looking at the pasture legume, Tedera, and how it could help fill feed gaps in a herd or flock’s requirements. WALRC Coordinator Erin Gorter said Tedera is the focus of one of the 18 RD&A projects endorsed to receive MLA investment of producer levies for 2016/17. This follows extensive consultation with grassroots producers through MLA’s regional consultation model. “Producers directly influenced the decision to have a RD&A project focused on Tedera through the first MLA regional consultation process held in 2015,” Ms Gorter said. “Tedera is a drought-tolerant perennial legume which originated in the Canary Islands, and has …

Herd of goats

Going Into Goats? Prepare on-farm ahead of kidding

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

WITH DEMAND for Australian goatmeat likely to remain strong in 2017, producers looking to diversify into goat production or expand their operations are reminded to carefully assess their on-farm infrastructure requirements. Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) Goat Industry Project Manager, Julie Petty, said the goatmeat industry was continuing to attract attention from producers as prices remained buoyant. “In early January 2017, the over-the-hooks export goat indicators are remaining very strong, with 12kg to 16kg carcase weight (cwt) goats averaging 608c/kg and peaking at 700c/kg,” Ms Petty said. “Solid demand and growing investment in the industry continue to strengthen the goat market both overseas and in Australia.” Ms Petty said it was critical for producers to have suitable fencing in place before the next kidding started in autumn or new stock are brought on to a property, to help manage herds and protect stock from predators. “Weaners from the upcoming autumn kidding will be a cost effective restocking option for many producers, with per head prices significantly lower than some other species,” Ms Petty said. “Now is the right time to make sure your on-farm infrastructure is in good working order so those paddocks are ready to go and you can …

Burdekin Fall Dam
Pauline Hanson says she would get Queensland moving by re-igniting the Bradfield Scheme.

The Pauline Hanson philosophy: think big, do big

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock, Sugar

WHETHER it’s the sugar growers’ dispute with Wilmar, the acquisition of prime agricultural land near Charters Towers to accommodate the Singaporean Military, or building dams and implementing the long-discussed and continually-shelved Bradfield Scheme, Pauline Hanson says she intends getting things done if her PHON party is calling the shots after the next Queensland election. Senator Hanson’s One Nation Party is “aiming to have every seat covered” at the next State election, which can be held up until March 2018. Already the pundits are suggesting Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor government will gain less numbers than the alphabet, and the LNP isn’t gaining any ground because its leader, Tim Nicholls, is a virtual unknown outside of Brisbane. “I’ll make the decisions — and then do it,” the One Nation leader said this morning (Saturday) in a wide-ranging interview. Senator Hanson facilitated talks in the Burdekin yesterday between two canegrower representatives and two Wilmar executives. Afterwards, Ms Hanson asked the canegrowers representatives if they thought the discussions were beneficial, “and they replied yes.” “The canegrowers were thrilled that the meeting had been accomplished,” she said, “and I also believe Wilmar can see an end to the negotiations is close.” “I also believe an in-principle agreement …

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2017 Global Markets Forum — the red meat outlook

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Livestock

BEEF AND SHEEPMEAT producers will have an opportunity to hear first-hand about the outlook for Australian red meat in key international markets, including the opportunities and challenges ahead for the next 12 months and beyond, at the upcoming 2017 Global Markets Forum. The forum, hosted by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), will include events in Melbourne and Brisbane in March 2017 and feature presentations from MLA’s International Business Managers on international market programs. Domestic market programs will also be covered on the day. The Melbourne event will have a specific focus on the sheepmeat industry, while the Brisbane forum will focus on the beef sector. Both events will be open forums with producers and industry stakeholders in attendance. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and engage in discussion about the opportunities for red meat across global markets. MLA conducts market access and business development activities as well as a range of customised marketing programs and activities across the globe, tailored to each key export market and distribution channel. MLA has offices and staff based in-market in key export markets to promote and grow demand for Australian red meat and to reinforce our position as a source of high quality product. …

Slow rebuild of Australia’s cattle herd begins

Colin Jackson Livestock

THE AUSTRALIAN cattle herd is expected to increase in 2017 for the first time in three years — up three per cent year-on-year to 26.9 million head, according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s 2017 Cattle Industry projections released on Monday, January 23. The change isn’t likely to kick-in until the second half of 2017, with the first six months of the year continuing on the same track as 2016, with tight supplies, strong restocker demand and the subsequent likelihood of a strong young cattle market. MLA’s manager of Market Information, Ben Thomas, said the cattle market will start to feel the impacts of the increase as the year progresses. “Once beef production slowly starts increasing again, there will be some downward pressure on prices in the Australian cattle market,” Mr Thomas said. Expectations are for a further three per cent decline in Australian cattle slaughter in 2017, to 7.1 million head. “While this is a significant fall, it’s not nearly to the same extent as what occurred over the past 12 months when there was an extremely rare 19 per cent drop,” Mr Thomas said. “The primary reason for the lower slaughter is the expectation that many producers will be …

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Countdown to Foreign Fairness

Colin Jackson Cotton, Current News, Dairy, Horticulture, Livestock, Produce, Sugar

THIS WEEK is a countdown to fairness of foreign-owned companies to farmers — Australian farmers in a week that includes Australia Day. Agalert will bring a series of stories, facts and political responses to this issue through the week. While the issue is centred on whether Singaporean giant Wilmar will offer a fair deal to sugar cane farmers, the issue affects all farmers. The beef, sheep (meat and wool), grains, oilseeds, fruit and vegetable processing sectors in Australia are all largely foreign-owned. Most have bought existing facilities developed by Australian companies and farmer co-ops. Their investment is not largely to build new facilities, but to control markets and eventually pricing and premium branding profits. This is the test — one that the Foreign Investment Review Board (or certainly their chairman merchant banker, Brian Wilson) has studiously avoided analysing in any depth. Are the foreign owners just using their market power (globally and in Australia) as political lobbying muscle to increase the proportion of Australian agriculture that goes to the processor and marketer — and reduce the proportion going to growers. Some have tried and been caught-out to date. Wilmar is the most blatant in trashing decades of fair split of …

AgForce Wool and Sheep board

Sheep and wool revival bring positives to industry

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

QUEENSLAND sheep and wool producers are the most positive they have been in years following a good winter, strong commodity prices and the continued roll-out of wild dog fencing, AgForce Sheep and Wool President Alan Rae said today. The AgForce Sheep and Wool Board (pictured above) held their first meeting for 2017 in Brisbane this week, with wild dogs dominating discussion. Mr Rae said wild dogs were an ongoing threat to the sheep and wool industry, but producers were buoyed by the Premier’s visit to the Longreach region this week to inspect fencing progress and reaffirm her commitment to protect the industry. “Without fences, there’s no sheep — it’s as simple as that. For producers who have built fences, the results have been amazing, with lambing percentages going from less than 20 per cent to more than 90 per cent,” he said. “AgForce is extremely grateful for the funding provided for wild dog fencing to date, and we encourage the Queensland Government to work with the Federal Government to deliver more fencing in sheep-growing areas. “It’s also vital that producers in clusters work together to tackle wild dog problems and look after neighbours with continued baiting, trapping and shooting programs …

Foot-and-mouth disease — what are the chances?

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe, Livestock

By Dr Pat Kluver, Livestock Biosecurity Network Manager Biosecurity & Extension HOPEFULLY, we will never see an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Australia in our lifetime. That is, after all, the aim of our quarantine and on-farm biosecurity protocols. We have had a number of emergency animal diseases (EAD) in this country over the past 40 years, including equine influenza in 2007, and some serious disease outbreaks in poultry like Newcastle disease and avian influenza. To date they haven’t involved the grazing industries. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) estimates that a small FMD outbreak, controlled in three months, could cost around $A6 billion, while a large outbreak would cost $A52 billion in lost revenue over 10 years. We haven’t had an outbreak of FMD in Australia for over 100 years, with the last suspected case from an imported bull in Victoria in 1872. But the lack of an outbreak does not mean we should become complacent. As an industry we need to be vigilant about biosecurity and ready to respond. The most significant risk of entry of FMD into Australia is through the illegal entry of meat and dairy products. It …

Investing in better diagnostic testing for Brucellosis

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

AUSTRALIA’S REPUTATION as a clean, green exporter will soon be strengthened thanks to the Federal Government’s $100,000 investment in better diagnosing Brucellosis, with funding provided as part of the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, has announced work to improve the diagnostic testing for brucellosis would be conducted over two years. “Australia has been free from Brucella abortus for over two decades, which is essential to negotiations for our livestock exports,” hesaid “As it stands, a positive test result for Brucella in cattle must be investigated to ensure that it has not been caused by Brucella abortus.” Mr Joyce told how in the 1970’s, his father had worked as a vet for the New South Wales Department of Agriculture in the removal of Bovine Brucellosis. “Under the Coalition Government, I am pleased to announce that the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory will receive $100,000 to develop diagnostic tests that can better differentiate been Brucella abortus and Brucella suis.” Positive tests for Brucella suis — which can be found in feral pigs and occasionally in cattle being grazed where feral pigs are prevalent — can be confused with Brucella …

Pumas may add to the beef boom

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

ARGENTINA, once a major contender with Australia in the old British Empire beef export markets, is gearing-up to enter the increasingly crowded international markets. After decades of a self-sufficiency policy with high taxes on beef exports, the new Argentinian government has relaxed beef export controls, as it did several years ago on soybean and grain exports. That led to major export growth and helped push down global soybean and grain prices. The country, an energy importer, is looking to follow the US model of using some of its substantial grain surplus to develop its biofuel industry, and lot-feed cattle. Plentiful cheap grain, the vast pampas and the reduction of export taxes has Argentinian beef farmers looking at substantial exports. And they are looking at not just the basic manufacturing beef markets, but also the higher value markets that Australia has targeted. Like Australia, Argentina can supply both quality grass-fed and lofted cattle. And with a currency well below even Australia’s versus the US dollar, plus cheap labour, it could be highly competitive into European and Asian markets. Argentina has plenty of killing capacity, although most of the plants are old and need substantial development, which the government has started encouraging. …

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Food for thought combined with sport ticks all the boxes

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

THE USUAL suspects gathered at a popular Brisbane steakhouse recently to catch-up on current events and solve the problems of the world. There were Cuban bank notes on the table, pictures of Argentina and Uruguay, and mention of rugby union. And as fate will have it, a certain former leader of a Caribbean nation came into the conversation. No bones devoid of meat, of course, were pointed in any direction, but two days later, the bearded identity was dead. Pete Lewis’ facebook page had featured some exotic and entertaining pictures of his recent roamings through South America and further afield, and all wanted to know what was on his agenda post-ABC. One photo showed him smoking a cigar in Cuba — no doubt an Havana. Pete has spent the past 35 years covering the people, the events and the issues that make the bush tick. He joined the ABC in Newcastle in 1980; from there, Australia and the world was his oyster as he filed material for a broad spectrum of ABC News. As he himself says: “I’ve clocked-up a lot of miles, and not all of it on bitumen” (hence of his twitter tag: end of the bitumen). He …