Genetics, tech, education key to growth
Challenge speakers have laid the groundwork for improved productivity gains through genetics, technology and education.
Zoetis genetic manager Daniel Abernethy said the use of science was the best driver of the cattle industry.
“Genetics works in turning grass and grain into a profitable beef enterprise,” he said.
“Producers should consider using SIRETRACE when deciding on whether their next bull selection is a good or poor choice.” Mr Abernethy said the new Angus HeiferSELECT, released in October, was a genomic selection tool to help inform the selection of Angus replacement females (87.5 per cent Angus content or greater) in a commercial herd.
“It complements other sources of information that may be used in commercial replacement heifer selection, such as phenotype, age, weight and pedigree, and provides a valuable insight into the genetic potential of heifers, particularly for traits that are otherwise difficult, time-consuming or expensive to measure using traditional methods.”
Livestock veterinarian Matthew Pedersen introduced the iotag GPS-based livestock tracking system, which helps farmers monitor their stock remotely.
“Each head of stock is fitted with a sensor module embedded in a neck collar,” he said.
“The sensors receive and transmit their GPS location back to a base station installed on the farm, using long-range, lowpower wireless. The base station can receive signals from up to 30km, and then transmits the data back to a web app, so that farmers can view the location of their stock on a phone, computer or tablet.” Meat and Livestock Australia’s David Beatty said Australia’s production systems found respect in the global beef marketplace.
“Overseas countries trust our biosecurity, animal welfare and traceability systems,” he said.
“That taken into account, price is the number one driver in the beef trade, which is why the Middle East buys 80 per cent of its beef from Brazil.”
Mr Beatty said MLA’s approach to a more competitive Australian beef label was to ensure Australian beef was identified with eating quality.
“It is estimated that 38 per cent of consumers find it difficult to make a buying decision and 81 per cent think price reflects quality,” he said.
“For that reason, MLA invests in training and education of meat buyers, food service staff, chefs and butchers.”