Over 215 delegates from right across Australia and New Zealand converged on Tamworth in the middle of May to delve ‘Beyond the Beef’ at the Zoetis Angus National Conference.
With a theme focusing on the future of the beef industry and agriculture in general delegates left Tamworth with an eye to future proofing their production systems and remaining at the forefront of the beef industry.
In welcoming everyone to the conference, Angus Australia President, Erica Halliday, Ben Nevis Angus New South Wales said, ‘That growing up in an Angus family meant that her love of Angus started as a very small girl and we not only had a love for Angus, but a love for the beef industry in general.’
The thing that stood out for Erica growing up was not only the love of the breed, but the love of the people in the Angus breed.
‘For me there has always been a greater Angus family and I have always felt a greater sense of belonging and what I am hoping for throughout this conference is that everyone has that sense of belonging with the Angus breed and knowing that you are all part of a greater Angus family.’
Erica described a vision for Angus Australia that will provide everyone with the skills and the knowledge so that they can start their own journey.
‘Part of the conference is helping you develop your own skills, your own education, so that you can go home and apply those to your own situation at home so you can develop your own unique Angus story.’
There were many highlights from the conference for Erica, but she summed up the experience by saying that, ‘I think probably it’s just the feel of the whole occasion.’
‘I’ve just had so many people come up to me and just say the vibe and there has been a lot of talk about the Angus family and whether it’s just the end of COVID, whether it’s the launch of our new strategic plan and the general feeling that we’re getting back to the membership and embracing everyone in the breed, you know ‘Angus for every system’ it’s just been a phenomenal success.’
‘I am extremely proud I mean, you can probably tell how proud I am and how much fun I have had with these people this week because it’s a safe space for me, it’s a beautiful space of meeting people, meeting new people, learning new things and just the feeling that we’re on a real wave.’
‘We’ve got another exciting journey ahead of us too with whether it’s with genomics or whether it’s with the whole carbon space you know there’s so much that we’ve got to look forward to as Angus Breeders,’ finished Erica.
Simone Bond from Blackstone Angus based in the Adelaide Hills South Australia came over to her first Angus Conference for a number of reasons.
‘I saw the program and was fairly excited and I have been involved on a committee state level with Angus and I just wanted to come and meet more breeders and learn from there.’
John Gaffney from Graneta Angus near Bell in Queensland came to the conference with his wife Leny to check out what is happening with the Angus breed and how it is going.
‘My wife and I decided we’d come down for the three-day conference to catch up with everyone and just get a bit insight into what’s happening with the Angus breed.’
For Brett Piraner and his wife Robyn, who run and I run Arthursleigh Q Angus near Bunjurgen in southeast Queensland, attending the conference was as much about connecting with the people as it was about the learning opportunities.
‘Firstly we haven’t been able to participate due to COVID and we thought that must come down and as an ex board member I thought that it was well worth a trip have a look. We have caught up with lots of entertaining people and the topics have been really good, the panels have been excellent and the trade stand have been worthwhile. I have had a couple of really good chats found out some more information on products that I was unaware.’
Jake Stokman from Stokman Angus, near Rotorua New Zealand travelled to the conference with family and was interested in comparing how people farm in Australia compared with new Zealand.
‘The conference has been a big eye-opener and there is a lot of information to try to take. But everyone here is so friendly and you can learn a lot.’
‘Being from New Zealand it’s good to see the differences, but there’s a lot of similarities especially in the type of animal that everyone’s breeding. It’s been a big eye-opener seeing how you guys farm over here you know compared to us, but seeing some of the technologies in use which we can now be a part of is an interesting thing and things like ImmuneDEX and all of the research values that are available are very relevant.’
Jake noted that listening to Hamish Webb from precision Pastures speaking on carbon credits was something that he would like to look into.
‘We have carbon credits in New Zealand but it’s only for pine trees so it will be interesting to talk to some people from lobby groups and get them to look into how Australia are working on carbon sequestration.’
Another highlight for many at the conference was the Gala dinner with former Wallaby David Campese as the special Guest Speaker.
Former Angus Australia President, Sam White, Bald Blair Angus New South Wales was thrilled to be able to introduce David to the crowd as he went through the highs and lows of his Rugby career and offered some pearls of wisdom, such as, ‘Winners take chances, so back yourself, if you have a dream, follow it.’
Angus Australia CEO Scott Wright, summed up the Zoetis Angus National Conference as a ‘Great event, with a great atmosphere, the program was designed to be thought provoking and allow members to go home with some ideas to apply to their own businesses.’
Day 1 Session 1: SPONSORED BY ZOETIS:
Jason Strong, Meat & Livestock Australia, spoke about the ‘Big Picture’ on how Australian Beef Producers are positioned to feed the world and how MLA is supporting beef producers to ‘crack on and get it done’!
Matt Toll, Fulton Market Group, gave an insight into ‘Beefing up our future’ and highlighted that Australia provides 70% of McDonald’s restaurants globally
Matt Petersen, Zoetis, spoke on ‘ImmuneReady’ the optimal strategy to leverage investment in genomic testing
Day 1 Session 2: SPONSORED BY ACHMEA AUSTRALIA:
Dr Sam Clark, UNE spoke about the power of efficient beef production, breeding for low methane emissions
Hamish Webb, Precision Pastures gave a producers perspective on carbon farming
Bonnie Cox, Chris Metcalfe, Brianna Maslen and Damien Thomson joined a panel to speak on how investing in the next generation will shape the beef industry of the future.
Day 2 Breakfast Session SPONSORED BY VYTELLE
Dr Bruno Sanches from Vytelle introducing attendees to Vytelle’s IVF Program and how to maximise your herds potential with technology
A panel of breeders (Chris Metcalfe, Frank Archer, Noeleen Branson, James Laurie, Forbes Cameron, Heath Tiller & Nick Boshammer) on Angus breed versatility and what they think might challenge us.
Day 2 Session 2 SPONSORED BY Repro360:
- Christian Duff, Angus Australia spoke about the value the TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation brings to Australian & New Zealand Angus Breeders
- Dr David Johnston, AGBU, spoke about how genomics adds value and precision to the TACE analysis
- Dr Aaron Ingham, CSIRO gave us the latest updates on ImmuneDEX
- Dr Pamela Alexandre, CSIRO spoke on the research being conducted into being able to breed pinkeye resilient cattle
Day 2 Session 3 SPONSORED BY BEEF AUSTRALIA:
Andrew McDonald, NH Foods Australia, delved in to ‘How Australian beef producers help deliver the joy of eating’
Dean Eastwood, CC Seymour South Killanoola, provided a practical example of a large scale operation putting management practices in to place to ensure they have a viable future
Jake Phillips, Angus Australia, spoke on ‘The evolution of Angus’
Keep an eye out on www.angusaustralia.com.au or the Angus Australia YouTube Channel as each of the conference presentations are released.
‘BEYOND THE BEEF’ ON TOUR
The day prior to the start of the ‘Beyond the Beef’ Zoetis Angus National Conference, 60 plus people were treated to a preconference tour, with visits to Killara Feedlot, Killain Angus and Heart Angus.
Tour participants enjoyed a great day out as each operation delved into their production systems and highlighted their place in the supply chain.
Lunch was provided by Jack’s Creek and featured their Verified Black Angus Beef product, Jack’s Creek 180 day grain fed Black Angus. With attendees enjoying a pulled brisket roll, thinly sliced rump cap and roasted rib eye with chimichurri, slaw, chips and jus.
The first stop on the tour was the Killara feedlot, a licensed 20,000-head beef cattle feedlot operated by Elders, on the outskirts of Quirindi, New South Wales, lies Killara Feedlot is a leading supplier of high-quality grain fed cattle to both domestic and international markets.
Chris Metcalfe travelled from the south coast of Western Australia from his family farm near Manypeaks, half an hour east of Albany where they run a mixed farming enterprise with cattle a primary part of their business, including the Koojan Hills Angus Stud.
Visiting the feedlot and listening to the presentation from Killara Feedlot General Manager, Andrew Talbot was an eye opener for Chris.
‘I haven’t seen a feedlot on that scale with that professionalism and seeing the end part of the system which is different to what we do as a grass-fed business that fattens steers for supermarkets, so but seeing their market which is different was a great experience.’
While Chris travelled to the conference to participate in two panel sessions during the main program, coming east was a great opportunity to catch up with the Angus family.
‘Interacting with different Angus Australia members and different industry professionals having come from Western Australia and particularly with COVID in the last few years it’s, been a bit easier said than done to get off farm and see what else is out there and meet other people and put faces to names that you talk to on the phone and so the networking side of thing is the bit that I’m most excited about and have most enjoyed,’ said Chris.
For Simone Bond, the visit to Killain Angus was one of her highlights during the tour. The Killain Angus Stud’s operation, just out of Tamworth is a family run business, with principals Richard and Susie Duddy connected to generations of cattle breeding.
‘I had met the Duddy’s at my first Roundup (Angus Youth National Roundup) and was pretty keen to go out and see their property and what they do.’
And having visited Killara, Killain Angus and Heart Angus and through her discussions with other members, Simone’s biggest take was, ‘To be true to yourself and what your program is.’
The day finished with a Welcome Function supported by NH Foods Australia and Wyhalla Beef.