Looking north, looking ahead

Herefords look north

HEREFORDS Australia will manage its marketing strategy and communications out of Brisbane for the first time next year.

CEO John McKew announced the appointment of Jamie O'Brien to the role of marketing and communications manager yesterday, replacing Geoff Phillips who had worked in the role under contract to the organisation out of Melbourne.

The new appointment, which will be based in Brisbane and not at the organisation's headquarters in Armidale, could spell an increasing northern focus for Herefords Australia, whose president Steve Reid is also based in Queensland at Talbalba, Millmerran on the Darling Downs.

Mr McKew said Mr O'Brien would make a significant and important contribution to the Hereford breed over 2013 and beyond.

"I have already publicly stated to our membership that 2013 will be the year of a renewed focus and effort in the marketing and communications of our breed, and I look forward to working with Jamie to make that happen," he said.

"We are delighted that Jamie is joining Herefords Australia to give our marketing and communications a new edge."

Mr O'Brien, who originally hails from Perth, will start on January 7. He has previously held positions with the the Australian Banana Growers Council and the Queensland Farmers Federation and is currently the media officer for Federal MP Scott Bucholz, based in the semi-rural electorate of Wright near Brisbane.

Livestock as pets by 2020?

AT this time of year, newspapers are full of bold predictions of what's likely to be coming down the track over the next 12 months. With this in mind, I couldn't resist sharing some of these thoughts of US beef producer and thinker Lee Leachman, of Leachman Cattle of Colorado, who offered several predictions at the recent Novus Global Beef Roundtable that he believes may affect the global beef industry in years to come.

1. Increasing incomes – There will be 50 per cent more people on the planet and they will have more money and they’re going to want to spend it on higher quality protein. Global food demand will at least double in the next 40 years.

2. Energy and the environment – Climate change discussion will continue. Oil will exceed US$100 a barrel. Nuclear energy will be a factor and 50pc of global corn will continue to be used for ethanol.

3. Higher commodity prices – If oil trades higher than US$100, corn will trade higher than US$6 per bushel. If the global economy is good (high oil prices), we’ll have a global shortage of protein. The only way to increase protein is to feed more grain to cattle, chickens and pigs.

4. Rich steaks – By 2020, steaks will cost more than US$16 per pound (right now, in a recession, it averages a little more than US$8 per pound). North Americans and Europeans will grill fewer steaks because they can’t afford them. The wealthiest people will be the ones eating steak.

5. World’s wealthiest people – In 2009, there were 3 million millionaires in the United States. India had 185,000 and China had 600,000. That number has not increased in the US in a decade, but other countries’ millionaire tally is increasing by 20pc every year. By 2020, India and China will have more than 6 million millionaires and they’ll be able to eat whatever they want.

6. Global cattle numbers have peaked - CattleFax estimates that global cattle production is down by 6pc over the last decade. Grazing land prices have more than tripled in the last decade. High crop prices will also contribute to reduced availability of grazing land.

7. Cattle as pets – More and more people think animals have rights like humans and beef producers will not win this battle. The reality is producers will have to alter their animal handling to satisfy the public. Livestock will be treated more and more like pets by 2020.

8. High-tech meat – We will continue to use technology to increase volume of meat per head including beta agonists (implants) to increase carcase lean yield. We will develop ways to select for improved rumen efficiencies. DNA, indexes, sexed semen and more will aid genetic improvement. We’ll produce more meat per head, but we will have fewer animals and tighter supplies. We’ll have to push to get more meat out of animals because we won’t have more cattle, and packers will 'incentivize' to use all the technology possible to increase meat quantity.

9. New value signals - Market forces will lead to improved value signals because the technology is better and competing products make it mandatory. An increasing number of calves will be source verified and certified due to consumer driven demands and more stringent markets.

10. Feed efficiency a new tool – This is a highly heritable trait and more and more cattlemen will seek higher feed efficient animals. With rising fuel and feed costs, feed efficiency is one of the most economically significant traits.

The Novus Global Beef Roundtable saw four Australians brave the US cool winter weather. They were David Daunton, Australian Country Choice, John O’Kane, Stanbroke Pastoral Company, Matt Bekker, Novus International and Darren Childs, Glenlands Droughtmaster stud, Bouldercombe, Queensland.

BJD crisis continues

THE BJD crisis sweeping Queensland will leave plenty of producers in limbo over Christmas and well into the new year, with definitive tests on the incursion’s spread unlikely to be known until March. A meeting was held in Brisbane last Wednesday between Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, Agriculture Minister John McVeigh, senior biosecurity staff and a host of beef industry leaders and producers from around Australia to discuss how best to tackle the problem from here. I caught up with three of those guests to hear their views. Interviews with Cattle Council vice president Peter Hall, Victorian Angus breeder turned agricultural consultant Don Lawson and Australian Brahman Breeders Association general manager John Croaker can be viewed Choice Cuts online atwww.farmonline.com.au

Wrong roundtable

A FEW weeks ago I pointed the finger at the Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh for engaging with the World Wildlife Fund through the Sustainable Beef Roundtable of Australia. The reference to the Roundtable was made in the State government’s 2040 vision for agriculture and was, in fact, speaking about the Minister's Beef Industry Producers and Processors Roundtable, which no doubt will do a much better job of representing the beef industry's interests rather than that WWF creation which seeks to foist its dodgy science and extremist ideologies on primary producers.

Choice Cuts with Brad CooperGroup beef writer Brad Cooper presents a video round up of the big news in beef this week.


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Pleased that common sense has prevailed. Being close to the policy makers cannot be underestimated
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JohnCarpenter, The lamb and mutton job is going okay- we must be doing some things right.
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Spot on X. Let the Chinese buy as long as we can buy freely in China