Organic approach to cattle
Rawbelle beef producers to be certified organic as market demand rises
GOING organic is only natural for Grant and Carly Burnham.
While the pair have run their Rawbelle grazing property Bonnie-Doone without chemicals for five years, they only decided to become certified organic last year.
“We were slow to make the decision, but we had to make the change for the best reasons and in a thorough manner,” Mrs Burnham said.
Their cattle will be fully organic certified by June next year.
Between 2011–14, the organic beef sector has grown 127% and is now valued at $198 million, according to the Australian Organic Market Report.
“Organic food is the fastest growing food industry in the world. The prices should only go up,” Mr Burnham said.
“It’s very secure because prices are market driven.
“They are not reliant on anything else except a wide consumer demand for organic beef.”
The property has been EU certified since 1999, which guarantees each beast can be traced through the National Livestock Identification System and is hormone-free, and pasturefed certified as of this year, which guarantees their cattle have not been fed grain or hormones.
“Becoming EU and pasturefed certified were almost immediate transitions because we weren’t using hormones – it was aligned with our business practices,” Mrs Burnham said.
While the biggest demand for organic beef comes from domestic and US markets, Mr Burnham said free trade agreements with Asian nations would also lift prices.
BIG DEMAND: Fertility, early maturity and adaptability are the three things the Burnham's focus heavily on when breeding their soon-to-be organic cattle.