Meat and Livestock Australia launches online platform about Australian meat production

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has launched a new online platform that provides consumers with an open and trusted source of information about the production of beef, sheep and goat meat in Australia.

The platform, Good Meat, demonstrates how Australian red meat is produced sustainably, in high welfare systems and is an important part of a healthy balanced diet.

Good Meat is also home to a range of educational resources including study guides, classroom posters, lesson and activity sheets, virtual farm visits, digital lessons and online board games.

MLA managing director Richard Norton said while the vast majority of consumers in metropolitan centres across Australia were confident in the practices of the red meat industry, Good Meat spoke directly to those who sought more information about production systems.

READ: Growing trade and investment at Beef Australia 2018

“The consumer is king in our industry and we understand that community trust is integral to a sustainable and prosperous industry,” said Norton.

“Good Meat provides an engaging platform for red meat producers to share their story and demonstrate their commitment to best practice and continual improvement. It emphasises the high standards already in practice while reinforcing the industry’s on-going commitment to animal welfare and responsible environment management,” he said.

Recent research for MLA shows that about 1 in 5 meat eaters have a good understanding of the Australian beef and lamb industry and there are now almost 20 per cent fewer Australians from urban centres visiting cattle or sheep farms annually compared to eight years ago.

However, the same research reveals consumers’ appetite to learn more about food production, with more than 50 per cent interested in how Australian farmers produce beef and lamb.

“Good Meat is built on MLA’s consumer insights and data. It is a direct response to the increasing interest consumers have in the provenance of their food and how it is produced,” said Norton.

“Good Meat will also prove an important tool for those producers looking for resources to help share their story, promote what they do, build consumer confidence and challenge misconceptions,” he said.

Good Meat has been developed in consultation with the red meat industry.

Australian beef exports have increased in key markets such as Japan and China

Australian beef exports have increased in key markets as there is a demand for Australian products.

Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) market intelligence manager, Scott Tolmie, said Australian beef exports were up 13 per cent for the year-to-date (January to June) with key markets, such as Japan, Korea and China, recording double digit growth.

“Australian beef exports are now forecast to increase 10 per cent in 2018, to 1.11 million tonnes shipped weight,” he said.

Live cattle exports have also increased over the past six months – lifting 23 per cent year-on-year to 487,000 head, led by increased throughput out of Darwin.

READ: NSW government offers more funding for drought-stricken farmers

Seasonal conditions during spring would play a critical role in how the cattle market tracked, with any improvement to pasture conditions likely to see demand for young cattle and females increase, Tolmie said.

The news of increased exports comes at a time where farmers across Australia are dealing with ongoing drought conditions.

Ongoing dry weather, combined with a surge in female turn-off, has seen Australian cattle slaughter forecasts revised upwards to 7.8 million head for 2018, 9 per cent higher than the 2017 total, according to MLA cattle industry projections mid-year update.

For the first five months of 2018, Australian adult cattle slaughter totalled 3.1 million head – an increase of 11 per cent, or 300,000 head, from the same period last year. But this was still 7 per cent below the five-year average.

Tolmie said female cattle had largely driven the year-on-year increase, with a 21 per cent rise in the number of cows and heifers processed, and a modest 2 per cent lift in male cattle slaughter.

“Female cattle slaughter in May almost reached 403,200 head – the highest monthly volume since July 2015,” he said.

“Persistent dry conditions have seen the average national adult carcase weight forecast for the 2018 calendar year revised downwards, to 292kg/head. However, the upwards revision to slaughter more than outweighs the expected drop in carcase weights, with beef production for 2018 now forecast to increase 7 per cent to 2.3 million tonnes carcase weight,” said Tolmie.

While slaughter levels were expected to remain elevated, and a modest contraction in the national herd is forecast, the inundation of supply, and subsequent price reaction which the industry experienced in 2013-2015 was not anticipated to repeat itself, he said.

“The weight of supply placed some pressure on prices throughout autumn, particularly for young cattle. However, falls could have been much more pronounced if not for strong growth in some key Asian export markets,” said Tolmie.

“Demand in these markets has held firm in the face of increased product coming from both Australia and the United States. The flow-on for producers domestically has been continued price-support for finished cattle, cows and feeder suitable cattle,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WA’s first demonstration SMART Farm opens at Muresk Institute

Muresk Institute has unveiled Western Australia’s first demonstration SMART Farm at its inaugural FarmSmart Showcase – a free professional development event exhibiting the latest agricultural innovations.

Cloud-based SMART Farm technology is the integrated use of digital equipment in modern agriculture, such as sensors and GPS, providing farmers with the data they need to make highly informed choices and help improve efficiency.

Western Australians studying or working in agriculture will be able to use the facilities at Muresk to train and upskill.

The system will also increase Muresk’s productivity, environmental sustainability, safety and workflow, which will ultimately make the farm more self-sufficient.

Agricultural Region MLC Darren West represented Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery to officially open the inaugural FarmSmart Showcase at Muresk today. The event brought together industry leaders and training providers to highlight how embracing new technology and data with existing farming practices can help improve quality and efficiency.

“The McGowan Government is committed to increasing agricultural productivity, diversifying the economy and creating jobs for Western Australians,” said Ellery. “Being able to demonstrate the impact and benefits of technology in farming will be a huge benefit to students and the existing workforce – this initiative will help equip our workforce with relevant and contemporary knowledge and skills.

“The demand for highly skilled workers in the agriculture sector is growing and, like many other industries, it continues to evolve as technology modernises the way we work.”

“As a local farmer, I understand the importance of new technology and the efficiencies and opportunities it presents to our industry,” said West. “Not only is technology changing the way we do things, it is also opening up new opportunities for jobs. Muresk is leading the way in teaching and adopting the latest innovations in technology and systems to allow us to keep pace with the rest of the world.”

 

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