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A big week of beef

06 May 2021

The Australian beef industry was on show in Rockhampton this week at Beef Australia 2021, with MLA supporting the event as a proud principal partner.

MLA’s theme at the event was redefining resilience, with its presence aimed at equipping producers with the knowledge and tools to build future-focused and agile beef businesses.

MLA’s trade site was a journey through the red meat value chain, covering key programs and projects that address ongoing challenges, such as market access and productivity, as well as exciting developments and technology that aim to deliver sustainable growth for the red meat industry in the years to come.

On Tuesday, MLA’s Managing Director Jason Strong gave Prime Minister Scott Morrison and David Littleproud, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, a tour of the site.

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Under the banners of redefining resilience in sustainability, producer innovation, value chain innovation, growing market opportunities and building community trust, MLA’s staff spent time talking with visitors about research insights and related adoption activities and showcasing a diverse range of technologies including:

  • retinal scanning
  • calf alert devices
  • advanced x-ray imaging

Visitors to MLA’s digital farm located in the Ag tech yard were shown the latest in new technologies that MLA is investing in. This included the HDT Drover WOLF, the unique autonomous all-terrain vehicle which attracted great interest as it was put through its paces.

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The HDT Drover WOLF is technology sourced from the US military, now being tested by MLA with government funding for applications on-farm. With a range of over 1,000km, and 4.5 tonne towing, the diesel electric vehicle is particularly suited to rugged country, with applications for remote feed and water filling, dispersion of fertilisers or transporting supplies to stock camps.

The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (ASBF) launched its annual update at Beef Australia 2021. This year’s report, the fourth since the framework launched, highlights gains in producer satisfaction, awareness of animal welfare standards and the increased use of pain relief for cattle.

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Attendees at MLA’s Beef Australia seminars came away armed with new information, tips and resources to help address challenges and improve profitability on-farm.

  • Fightback against dieback offered management and mitigation strategies for producers affected by pasture dieback. Presenters included researchers and producers sharing their dieback stories, and the practicalities of management strategies. These included biosecurity measures, insecticides, biological controls and agronomy such as replanting affected pastures with legumes and other forages that are not susceptible to dieback.
  • The DNA to dollars breakfast forum focused on genetic breeding values and the impact on herd performance. The seminar demonstrated the opportunity available to producers to accelerate productivity and breed more resilient, fit-for-country animals. With significant potential for greater use of genetic technologies in northern production systems, the call to action for seedstock producers in that region was to join MLA’s genetics adoption initiative to accelerate genetic gain.
  • The seminar on linking innovation with reproductive performance focused on the innovative on-farm practices and technologies that can address calf loss in the northern herd. Attendees received an update on the Northern Breeding Business (NB2) initiative and a producer panel discussed their experiences with technologies and innovation to improve their herd reproductive performance.
  • The final seminar was driving value through supply chain innovation, an overview of how integrity systems, objective measurement technology and automated beef boning are creating a more efficient and traceable movement through the beef supply chain, backed by data. The seminar showed attendees the link between better and more accessible data and how this protects Australia’s competitive global market position.

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Associate professor Caroline Hauxwell spoke at the Fightback against dieback seminar. Her QUT pasture dieback research focuses on the mealybug, examining its biology, natural enemies, and management.

Red Meat, Green Facts launch

MLA launched a new resource - Red Meat, Green Facts - which brings together clear, evidence-based messages and information to empower Australia’s red meat producers and advocates on topics including the environment, animal welfare, nutrition and plant-based fake meats. 

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