Home' Smart Farmer : September 2014 Contents Smart beef
Beef exports up, numbers in decline
MLA market information and analyst manager Tim McRae says higher slaughter levels will see
Australia move from a 30-year high to a 30-year low cattle herd next year.
By CARLA WIESE-SMITH
FOR the first time since 2003, the United
States is Australia's largest beef export
That was the key message from a presenta-
tion given by Meat and Livestock Australia's
market information and analyst manager
Tim McRae at the SA Beef School at Mount
Compass in August.
"The US is now our number-one export
market," he said.
"It's red hot at the moment.
"The biggest reason is that they don't have
the beef themselves, due to the constant
liquidation of the US herd in recent times."
The US cattle herd has only had six years in
the past three decades to be able to increase
As a result, its annual calf drop is at a
60-year low, and has declined 16.7 per cent
The record US import prices had attracted
more Aussie beef, while demand for cuts from
the US had decreased and there was more
emphasis on manufacturing and pasture-fed
US now largest market for Aust beef
Numbers up in only six years
Demand expected to remain strong
The top 10 placegetters Luke Bruce, Justin Hurrell, Will Clarke, Jacob Herrmann, Simon
Aldridge, Danae Reed, Daniel Griffiths, Joe Scammell, Carly Gogel and Monica Cramer with
overjudge Alistair Rayner, Tamworth, NSW.
Industry schooled on livestock selection
A CROSS-SECTION of SA's beef industry
figured in the top 10 placings at the SA
Held at Mount Compass Area Training
Centre with visits to local saleyards and
producers, the event drew in producers,
service providers and students, who all
figured in the top 10.
Of the 70 people who attended, trainee
Southern Australian Livestock stock
agent at Murray Bridge Simon Aldridge
took out first place, Tintinara beef pro-
ducer Justin Hurrell came in second and
Keith Area School student Carly Gogel
"There's a really good mix of produc-
ers, service providers and students in the
top 10, which is a great reflection on the
school as a whole," coordinator Penny
"Although the school's target audience
is beef producers, we did have a handful
of service providers attend the school,
with about three-quarters of the service
providers that attended ending up in the
"It's great to know that the people
in our industry that provide advice and
guidance for our businesses are not only
keen to learn and get involved, but also
seem to know their stuff."
The two-day event featured speakers
from across the industry including Meat
and Livestock Australia market and
information analysis manager Tim McRae,
RaynerAg principal Alastair Rayner,
University of Adelaide School of Animal
and Veterinary Sciences Prof Wayne
Pitchford, Angus Australia breed develop-
ment and innovation manager Carel
Teseling and Meat Standards Australia
trade development officer Jake Phillips.
Hands-on and theory sessions were a
feature of the Focus on Females theme
and included topics such as hitting
the right market specifications, using
EBVs and management and breeding
tactics to improve female reproductive
Participants were given the opportu-
nity to assess cattle at Mount Compass
saleyards and on various local properties.
And for the first time, the SA Beef
School was able to provide a recognition
of learning for participants through
Mrs Schulz said the overall response
had been excellent, with the school sold
out a week before.
"It's very hard to turn people away,
so we're trying to find ways to accom-
modate more," she said.
The event was sponsored by Rabobank,
tafeSA, Ridley AgriProducts, Compass
Feeds, National Herd Development, Z
Tags and the state government.
An initiative of the SA branch of Angus
Australia, it was made possible through
funding from MLA's More Beef from
-- CARLA WIESE-SMITH
SA Beef School top 10
1. Simon Aldridge, Murray Bridge, SAL trainee
2. Justin Hurrell, Tintinara, beef producer
3. Carly Gogel, Keith Area School, student
4. Luke Bruce, Kangaroo Island, beef producer
5. Daniel Griffi ths, Mallala, Spence,
Dix & Co agent
6. Joe Scammell, Clare, Spence, Dix & Co agent
7. Danae Reed, Murray Bridge,
NAB Agribusiness regional manager
8. Jacob Herrmann, Lobethal, beef producer
9. Will Clarke, Oodnadatta Track, beef producer
10. Monica Cramer, Willalooka, beef producer
"Their CME Feeder Cattle index is at an
all-time high -- more than US$2.20 a pound
(about $A5.30/ a kilogram)," Mr McRae said.
However, Australia is also facing a rapid
decline in national herd numbers.
"We're going from a 30-year high to next
year having a 30-year low cattle herd," Mr
"This is due to high slaughter levels; there's
just not enough cattle coming into the system."
Much of the decline in numbers has been in
key cattle regions of northern NSW and Qld.
"We're at a real disconnect right now," he
"We have record exports -- the volume has
never been higher -- but that's been driven by
record slaughter numbers."
Mr McRae says demand has been, and
expected to remain, very strong for beef and
"The lower Aussie dollar could really accen-
tuate things; the lower the better," he said.
Annie Boon, Mount Compass Area School,
with the school's Limousin steer bound for the
Royal Adelaide Show.
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