More beef from pastures

MLA's More Beef from Pastures (MBfP) program was first developed in 2004 as a delivery framework for outputs from research and development (R&D) activities in southern beef production systems.The manual was revised and redeveloped for online delivery in 2013. It now includes the outcomes of recent research and development.

The goal of More Beef from Pastures

The overall goal of the program is to achieve a sustainable (economic and environmental) increase in kilograms of beef produced per hectare through optimal management of the feedbase.

The program seeks to achieve this through the provision of principle and procedure-based information extended through partnerships with southern state Departments of Primary Industries and agribusiness, MBfP State Coordinators.

Producer Advocates also play an important role in the program by fulfilling a peer support and program advocacy function.

The producer's manual

The More Beef from Pastures: The producer's manual, remains central to the MBfP program. The producer's interactive and online manual is an information package designed to deliver the essential principles and practices for a successful beef business. The manual draws on the latest R&D as well as the knowledge, skills and experience of producer advocates who helped write the seven modules.

These modules provide tools and information to enable southern beef producers to increase productivity and profit while minimising risk:

  • Module 1 - Setting directions
    Helps producers set clear business objectives and the strategic direction of the beef enterprise.
  • Module 2 - Pasture growth
    Helps producers develop expertise in soil, pasture and grazing management to boost productivity and profitability.  
  • Module 3 - Pasture utilisation
    Details methods to increase stocking rates and adopt a plant growth-based approach to grazing management. .
  • Module 4 - Cattle genetics
    Provides information to help producers lift productivity and profitability through ongoing genetic improvement.   
  • Module 5 - Weaner throughput
    Outlines practices to determine how and when to wean calves early in order to maximise production and profitability.
  • Module 6 - Herd health and welfare
    Outlines procedures required to manage a healthy, productive and profitable cattle herd.
  • Module 7 - Meeting market specifications
    Helps producers to increase financial returns by better meeting target market specifications, exploiting market opportunities and managing the risks.

Events and activities

Every state coordinates a range of events, activities, workshops, demonstration sites, forums and coaching days that bring the principles, practices and tools from the MBfP program directly to producers. There are three particular categories of activity:

  • Awareness activities to build and maintain broad industry awareness of MBfP and associated resources.
  • Knowledge, skills and confidence to promote active learning.
  • Practice change activities – participatory learning initiatives aimed at generating practice change and then recording the impact of change.

Check the MLA events calendar for upcoming More Beef from Pastures events


20 October 2015: Cattle prices – how much more profit will you make and what are the lessons from the lamb industry? John Francis, Holmes Sackett

Beef prices are at record highs and although good, there is industry uncertainty about the real ramifications for beef businesses and what we should do going forward.

In this webinar John Francis, farm business consultant at Holmes Sackett, will demonstrate the effect of high beef prices on beef herd profitability and beef trading margins. He will also illustrate some key issues for beef businesses looking at capitalizing on the high prices.

John will also take a look at the flip side to good prices. This webinar will illustrate the tough lessons learnt by the prime lamb industry and demonstrate the practical application of 'cost of production' calculators to help beef producers maintain profitable margins.

22 October 2015: Improving feed utilisation in Beef herds – How to get the most out of pasture growth and soil moisture monitoring tools.  John Francis, Holmes Sackett

Feed utilisation is a key driver of beef herd profitability. John Francis, farm business consultant at Holmes Sackett, has teased out how to make pasture growth go further for beef herds.

At this webinar John will be presenting robust recommendations for improving pasture utilisation in beef production systems, back up with real data from Holmes Sackett’s extensive beef benchmarking service. John will also be covering strategies to mitigate risk in high pasture utilisation systems through pasture budgeting and the use of soil and pasture monitoring tools.

27 October 2015: Better beef businesses – how much more profitable are the best and what do they do differently?  John Francis, Holmes Sackett

In any given market, region or season some beef producers consistently perform better than their counterparts – why and by how much? This is the subject that John Francis, farm business consultant at Holmes Sackett, will be discussing at this webinar.

With 17 years of Holmes Sackett’s beef benchmarking data to draw on, John will be illustrating the large differences in profitability between average producers and the best over the long term. He will also breaking down what the best have been doing in order to stay ahead of the pack. This webinar will be packed full of first class information and evidence based recommendations relevant to your beef business.

29 October 2015: Pasture economics 101 for beef producers – Is pasture improvement making me or breaking me?  John Francis, Holmes Sackett

Pasture improvement is a big cost to beef grazing businesses, and producers rarely commence their next round of pasture improvements with 100% confidence their money is being well spent. Moreover, it’s hard to determine the cost of pasture improvement because most of them are not cash costs!

John Francis, farm business consultant at Holmes Sackett, will teach participants of this webinar the true cost of pasture improvement, and help develop an understanding of whether that is where the businesses next buck needs to be spent. John will also touch on the principals of on-farm investment, and demonstrate how lateral thinking and investment appraisal within the business will help beef business owners better reinvest in the business for higher returns.

2 November 2015: Labour efficiency in beef businesses – how do you measure it, what is the target and how do you achieve it? John Francis, Holmes Sackett

Labour costs are one of the top two costs to beef businesses. Top beef producers know this and use the labour efficiency lever to improve the profitability of their businesses. Participants of this webinar will be surprised at just how far the labour efficiency benchmark is being pushed in the beef industry.

In this webinar farm business consultant John Francis will be providing a comprehensive look into the labour efficiency of beef businesses. John will demonstrate the different methods of measuring labour efficiency and their relevance. He will also draw on 17 years of Holmes Sackett’s beef benchmarking data to illustrate how labour efficient the best are, and what strategies they have in place to achieve these levels of labour efficiency.

5 November 2015: Preparing to join beef cattle – the what, why and when of preparing your bulls.  Dr Tom Graham, Coolac Veterinary Services

Cow pregnancy testing is penned into the cattle husbandry calendar, so why aren’t bull inspections? Pre purchase and annual bull inspections are often overlooked despite the evidence demonstrating their importance.

In this webinar Coolac Verteriny Services vet Tom Graham will be covering off what producers need to do with their bulls pre purchase and before and over joining, and when. From a seedstock breeders perspective Tom will be addressing what we should be asking of our bull suppliers and what the implications are for our herd.

10 November 2015: Maximise the reproductive success of your beef herd – preventing and managing common reproductive diseases. Dr Natalie Robertson, Zoetis

A lot of work goes into getting a healthy calf out of every breeder, every year. The reproductive success of a herd is influenced by many factors, including bull performance, nutrition, and disease.

In this webinar, Dr Natalie Robertson from Zoetis will discuss three diseases that can have a significant impact on the reproductive performance and profitability of your herd – leptospirosis, Pestivirus and vibriosis. Learn what these diseases are, how you can recognise them in your herd, their impact on your herds performance and profitability, and some simple, practical and cost-effective methods to prevent and control these diseases.

12 November 2015: Beef cattle nutrition – sorting fact from fiction and knowing the essentials for productive beef herds. Hamish Dickson, Agripartner Consulting

Feeding beef cattle is an expensive business and knowing where to look for the best return on a dollar should be high on the agenda of any beef business.

In this webinar Hamish Dickson, independent ruminant nutritionist of Agripartner Consulting, will be dealing with the nuts and bolts of beef cattle nutrition. The webinar will provide participants a deep insight into a range of robust ruminant nutrition principals that will assist in the nutritional management of their breeders, heifers and finishing stock. Along the way Hamish will discuss some of the snake oil that exists in the cattle nutrition market, and help participants understand how to assess cattle supplementary feeding opportunities based on their merits, not on their sales pitch.

19 November 2015: Better beef marketing. Alison Hamilton, AJM Livestock Solutions

With beef prices at record highs it’s the cattle producers’ turn to be in the box seat. Where, how and when to sell your cattle can be a challenging question and often one where we wish we had a crystal ball to help us out.

In this webinar Alison Hamilton, livestock consultant and industry trainer at AJM Livestock Solutions, will demonstrate the importance of knowing your product and what your market wants. She will illustrate the importance of efficient and accurate production data and how to use it in marketing your product.

During the webinar Alison will also overview some of the new market opportunities in the beef industry and how to evaluate your capacity to supply and make the most from these opportunities.

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