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Northern Breeding Business (NB2)

Northern Breeding Business (NB2)

Northern Breeding Business (NB2) is a strategic RD&A partnership which aims to improve the long-term viability and sustainability of the northern Australian beef industry by: 


Reducing calf wastage in breeding herds


Improving the financial viability of northern beef enterprises


Increasing the adoption of proven management practices and technologies

NB2 has set the ambitious target to deliver an estimated $20 million/year in net benefits by 2027 to 250 northern beef enterprises.



Benefits to producers

NB2 provides northern beef business owners and managers with a unique opportunity to set directions for their business whilst working alongside other producers to exchange ideas and learn about new research and technologies.

Benefits include:

  • A 5:1 return on investment by improving weaning rates, decreasing calf mortality and increasing saleable turn-off weight in northern beef herds.
  • Education, training, mentoring and employment opportunities for people entering or already engaged in the northern beef industry.
  • Improved public perceptions around animal health and welfare, leading to increased consumer trust in Australian beef.

NB2 focus areas

NB2 is a producer-directed research and adoption program exploring opportunities to improve reproductive rates, decrease mortality, increase turn-off weights and improve genetic potential in northern herds by:

How it works

Working in groups of up to 10 producers, with the support of a trained facilitator and producer coordinator, NB2 will support northern beef businesses to:

  • Collect standardised beef business records which will be analysed against similar enterprises to establish baselines for herd productivity, feedbase resilience and business profitability.
  • Within a peer group discuss areas for improvement, learn from what others are doing, and identify learning and development opportunities to focus on together.
  • Identify potential interventions and repeat annual data collection for measurable improvements to business performance.  


Producer groups

As part of the Pathway to practice pillar, seven regionally diverse producer groups have been established across northern Australia to provide direction and insight for the NB2 project. The groups are located across Queensland, Northern Territory and the Kimberley, Pilbara in Western Australia. Find out more.

Any producer who currently operates a beef breeding business in the northern Regional Beef Research Committee regions is welcome to join these groups (provided they meet certain criteria).

Each producer group will be supported by a producer coordinator and a trained group facilitator/s, including state department extension staff and qualified private consultants.

Producer group resources

How to get involved in NB2

  1. Once you have established a group, complete a Producer Group Registration Form to secure funding support from MLA.
  2. Nominate a group facilitator and producer coordinator to help organise and run meetings.
  3. After the initial meeting(s), each group starts by collecting data on their beef operation in standardised templates.
  4. With the support of your facilitator, groups analyse the data, and:
    • each business will identify their areas of focus and form a customised plan
    • each group will determine the areas they want to upskill in.
  5. Facilitators work with their group, and with industry experts, to deliver a program that addresses these interests, providing both one-to-one support and group activities. Group activities combine theory, on-property demonstrations, practical learning and discussion. The group will meet regularly to share updates and progress.

MLA is looking for new NB2 group facilitators

MLA is seeking expressions of interest for individuals interested in facilitating groups within the Northern Breeding Business (NB2) program. NB2 aims to bring together groups of up to 10 producers to measure business, herd and feedbase performance, then share perspectives and ideas to improve enterprise productivity and profitability. The role of group facilitator is key in bringing the group together, providing support for data collection, coordinating training activities, and facilitating constructive discussion within the group.

For more information download this Expression of interest

Expressions of interest should be submitted by email to by COB 31 July 2023.

For more information please contact:

Ainsley Smith
Beef Productivity Project Manager
Phone: 0474 199 470



1. What will I get out of NB2?

Customised herd management plan

NB2 will provide producers with a process to identify issues limiting the performance of their breeder herd as well as overall productivity. To address the issues identified, participants will have the opportunity to build a customised, cost-effective breeder herd management plan. 

Learn from your peers

Participants will be able to interact and share ideas with other producers in a group-learning environment under the guidance of a consultant.

Understand your business

Over a two to three year period, the NB2 groups will support producers with the implementation and monitoring of herd management plans. Participants will gain a better understanding of their overall business as part of this process.

2. How do I know if I have a reproductive efficiency or calf mortality problem?

Here are two resources to help identify a calf mortality or reproductive efficiency problem:

3. How much of my time will be involved?

This will be different for each producer. Factors impacting the time involved for each participant include:

  • how much a producer wants to get out of the program
  • participant’s current capital set-up and management program
  • interaction with other group members and the coordinator.

There will be several professional development days (in a group-learning environment) over a two to three year period. A checklist covering what producers need to do to participate will be provided. 

4. How much will it cost?

The fee to join an NB2 producer group is $2,000/per business (including GST).

There may also be costs in gathering the required information, depending on the individual’s situation. For example, if you’re not already pregnancy testing (preferably with foetal aging), this will be an additional expense. Some of the recommended changes could involve capital costs, which will be accompanied by a cost-benefit analysis.