By ERWIN CHLANDA
“Demand for and sales of Australian beef has triumphed in the face of both the real and perceived challenges of the past few years.
“Our global reputation for delivering on the combination of eating quality, traceability, sustainability, and food safety is second to none,” states Jason Strong, addressing this morning a roomful of cattlemen in town for their annual bash.
The managing director of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) says: “With a continuance of the forecast global protein shortage on the back of African Swine Fever and demand set to grow at unparalleled levels as consumers in key regions become increasingly affluent, I believe we are looking at a three to five-year window of opportunity and prosperity.”
But challenges such as climate volatility, pests and disease, trade tensions, global competition, political uncertainty, alternative proteins, “and the denigration of our industry by those with vested interests means we must continue to work hard as a collective industry.
“Our industry has set a clear target of doubling the value of Australia’s red meat sales by 2030 as well as providing a trusted source of the highest quality protein.”
Low adoption of R&D in the North has led to the introduction of initiatives aiming a the reduction in calf mortality, reduction in breeder mortality, increased breeder productivity and reproductive efficiency and increased sale weights.
“These by 2027 will yield $20m in net benefits per annum, through increased production of 10m kg live weight of cattle,” says Mr Strong (pictured this morning).
All that gain will be achieved with less pain: “MLA is continuing to invest in research around pain relief on-farm – bolstering our strong animal welfare credentials.
“Complications arising from these common animal husbandry procedures, such as infection and pain, can lead to depressed live weight gain and in the most extreme cases mortalities.
“For Meat Standards Australia (MSA), we continue to invest in ‘rail and long distance travel’ research.
“The challenge that we face is that current MSA ‘time to slaughter’ requirements prevent cattle transported long distances on rail from being MSA eligible.”
Most cattle from The Centre are transported on road trains.
The MLA continues to invest in research towards the adoption of a cattle tick vaccine: “A single-dose vaccine could become a crucial component of an integrated pest management system to help overcome many millions of lost dollars.”
Easy P is looking at ways to increase adoption of phosphorus supplementation in Northern Australia.
Echoing the remarks by retiring president Chris Nott earlier today, Mr Strong says: Critical for our industry, and in particular our northern industry, is a viable live export sector.
“In 2020, Australia exported 1.06 million head of cattle valued at A$1.64 billion. Last year alone, live exports accounted for an estimated 13% of adult cattle turnoff.”