Lessons from the lamb industry

04 January 2016

More Beef from Pastures recently provided a series of webinars containing information to help improve the profitability of beef producers in southern Australia.

The series commenced on 20 October with a webinar about cattle prices with a key message being the importance of focusing on the most important aspects of production and profitability, even when prices are strong, as they have been in the last 12 months.

“The natural tendency is to increase production when prices are good and in so doing, “make hay while the sun shines”. It is important, however, not to lose sight of the cost of production,” said John Francis, the webinar presenter and More Beef from Pastures NSW State Coordinator.

“The lamb industry has experienced significant price gains in the past five years and as a result, producers looked to intensify production through increased fertility. This however led to significant increases in labour and labour related costs. Lamb producers achieved additional production but it came with greater costs, which eroded their profit margins considerably,” said John.

“At the moment beef is on top of its game in terms of costs of production, and has been able to contain cost of production increases to 2.3% compared to 6.4% in the lamb industry over the past 13 years (based on compounding rates),” said John.

“Managers of beef enterprises have done a great job of containing costs over the last 5-10 years while prices have been static. It is vital that producers do not take their eyes off the margin now that prices are high.”

The first five webinars in the series focused on business development while the remaining three dealt with beef production issues including reproduction and nutrition.

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