As the doors of the plane opened and a warm 20-degree breeze blew through, I became very excited for the massive week ahead that was to be Beef Australia 2015. Having never been to the event before I went in with very little knowledge of the events size, standard of exhibits and interest from overseas cattlemen; but the interest was soon shown by the massive amounts of people flooding through the front gates at 8 o’clock on the opening morning.
During the week we were amerced into the northern beef industry, surrounded by everything to do with large scale cattle production. Meeting producers on the Angus Australia stand and around the showground’s was beneficial in gaining knowledge on operations, markets and technologies that make the northern industry run smoothly.
Without a doubt the most beneficial thing of the week was connecting with Angus enthusiasts, breeders, youth members and international guests. It was amazing to see the different ideas for the future of their Angus herds and the Australian Angus breed. There is a large supporter base who are committed to improve the genetics and their suitability for the Australian climate and strengthen its dominance within the beef industry.
I was amazed on the popularity of the Angus breed both in its current influence on cattle production and the interest from potential Angus users in crossbreeding operations for the future. There is strong interest in Angus infused cattle in the north due to the many benefits from hybrid vigour such as fertility, pollness and weight gain, which will only increase with the positive results coming from farmers.
I would like to thank Angus Australia, and the Queensland State Committee for providing the funding for me to go to such a magnificent event. It was an amazing experience, something that I would not have been able to witness without the help of the Angus breed. The knowledge and contacts that I have gained from the trip will be very beneficial for my future within the Australian beef industry.
Receiving a scholarship to Beef Australia 2015 enabled me to be immersed in the beef industry for a whole week. It was here that I was able to connect with producers from a variety of breeds, talk to them about their operations and what they learnt at Beef Australia 2015.
As a scholarship recipient I spent a few hours a day on the stand. This was an excellent opportunity to talk to interested parties about how Angus genetics is or could be, included in their production system and what results could be observed. There were many visitors from a variety of countries, and it was interesting to see how many were interested in using Australian Angus genetics, and how Angus genetics were currently being utilised throughout their countries.
With stud cattle judging on Monday through Thursday, I got to observe some excellent cattle and see the directions the different breeds are heading. Wednesday was Angus judging, and it was a team effort to keep the day running smoothly. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to commentate, and practice my microphone skills. Announcing classes, results and informing the audience was a steep learning curve and I have much respect for the commentators of such events.
Beef Australia is more than a cattle show and trade expo, it has a strong emphasis on education. With an extensive seminar and forum program. I was able to squeeze in a few seminars into my busy schedule. By assisting in filming the ‘Angus Genetics in the North’ seminar, I was able to listen in and hear from a few producers about their experiences. Overall it was a positive vibe and there is a fair amount of research going into further improving the opportunities for Angus genetics, and marketing the benefits of their integration.
The ‘Live Export Forum’ painted a colourful picture of the current and future outlooks for the industry. It was very optimistic, with international opinions of Australian cattle being one of quality, consistency, and safety. The trick will be being able to satisfy the requirements of these markets, and secure their business for years to come.
I also attended the ‘Precision Livestock Management’ seminar. Run by the CSIRO and CQU along with UNE, they told us about current research being conducted and how they see it being implemented in industry. Most of it was remote management based technology, aiming to reduce time spent in the paddock and yards, and better utilise pastures.
With the long standing situation of drought in Queensland and much of Australia, alternative fodder sources was a hot topic. One seminar I got to attend was about Leucaena, and how to best utilise it in northern production systems. Not having a lot to do with this fodder source it was interesting to hear how it is being used as a source and how the toxicity is being managed. It was great to hear that there is investment into alternative fodder sources.
Back on the genetics path, one of the MLA seminars held was addressing the issue of genetic improvement in the north. There is a significant amount of funding going into encouraging the adoption of EBVs in northern herds. And with the introduction of EBVs derived from tail hair samples and phenotyping, its adoption should be a lot more viable and the further genetic improvement and resulting productivity gains will follow.
Another huge underlying theme of the week was the emerging young generation of producers and future leaders of the industry. I had the opportunity to attend a few networking events where I got to talk to a variety of industry leaders and hear their views on the beef industry and get some words of wisdom on how to really get involved in the industry and go places. The ‘Next Generation’ Forum was terrific. It was a sounding board full of ideas of how to effectively run a business and tips on how to be a good entrepreneur. It was very humbling to be seated in a room full of such bright minds, some of whom are already making waves in the industry and others who we will see emerging in the coming years.
The opportunity provided to me by Angus Youth to attend Beef Australia was invaluable. The week was full of opportunities to network, listen, learn and participate in all aspects of the industry. I left Rockhampton feeling inspired and enthused about the beef industry and the places it will be going in the future. It was excellent to see the intelligent young people coming up through the industry and the support and opportunities available to them. The beef industry should be proud of how innovative it is and the investment coursing through at the moment.
Angus Australia and Angus Youth are a huge component of this investment into the future of the industry. It is programs like this and opportunities to attend such extraordinary events that encourages the upcoming youth to forge through and make a mark in this incredible industry and take it even further.
Top Image: Lachie Collins, Alice Lodge, Josh Dawson and Laura Grubb