Or­ganic ap­proach to cat­tle

Raw­belle beef pro­duc­ers to be cer­ti­fied or­ganic as mar­ket de­mand rises

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

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.

PHOTO: EMILY SMITH

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.

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