By Jeremy Melloy, National Business Manager, GrainCorp Feeds (AU)
It’s difficult to comprehend the scale of Australia’s beef industry when your only exposure is the meat section at the supermarket or your neighbourhood butcher.
Meat and Livestock Australia projects the nation’s beef cattle herd will rise to 25.2 million head this year, recovering from a 20-year low driven by the drought.
Some 1.1 million tonnes of beef will go to export.
They’re staggering numbers, offering some insight into the importance of this vast industry.
Running a beef business is a complex, ever-changing and highly competitive enterprise in which a range of inputs are beyond the manager’s control.
If it’s not drought, bushfire or flood, it’s the fast-moving dynamics of international markets bringing pressure from different angles.
The ‘Oscars’ moment for this industry comes in Rockhampton during Beef Australia’s ‘Beef 2021’, a colourful, triennial celebration attracting more than 100,000 people in attendance.
The week-long event, held from 2 to 8 May this year, brings together the people who make Australia one of the powerhouse innovators of the global beef industry.
It showcases so many aspects of the industry; from the unique lifestyle of a producer to new products, technical presentations and entertainment.
But the highlight is undoubtedly the opportunity to just… talk.
Beef 2021 is an important forum for producers, supply chain providers, academics, genetics gurus, industry leaders and service providers.
If an unpredictable world rewards people who adapt to changing circumstances, then these people are the masters of dealing with ambiguity.
They’re also pretty savvy when it comes to assessing and implementing new technology.
The farmer’s job is to produce quality cattle with characteristics the global food industry and consumers demand.
Animal welfare, husbandry and nutrition are fundamental to achieving these results.
From fine-tuned Wagyu cattle destined for the world’s best restaurants, to providing Australia’s domestic consumers with tasty and nutritious cuts; our farmers are leaders in devising and maintaining sophisticated production systems.
GrainCorp has supported Beef Australia for more than 15 years, because the event’s aspirations of an ever better, smarter industry match our approach to animal feed science.
Market pressures dictate that producers become more efficient and more committed to quality every year. That’s a big ask when conditions vary so widely between seasons.
To support this, GrainCorp Feeds invests heavily in scientific research and development to create supplements, which not only fill the feed gap caused by seasonal variation in pasture quality, but also enable farmers to meet year-round production requirements.
Think of it as a paddock full of elite athletes, on a carefully crafted diet designed for Olympic performance.
Formulating the right supplement for each farm requires a mix of experience, science and animal nutrition, and reflects the technology and care that the entire beef industry runs on.
It’s worth remembering when you’re at the check-out; there’s so much more to that Scotch fillet than the plastic pack it came in.