Angus Foundation, BeefEx scholarship recipients Jack Jansen and Brooke Barnes attended the ALFA BeefEX Conference in Brisbane, along with the SmartBeef scholarship recipients from 2021, Georgia Laurie and Phoebe Christie in early October. 

The four scholarship recipients attended seminars, trade shows, and networking functions focused on consumer trends, the economics of the beef industry, global markets, leadership producers, and finance.   

The following reports have been put together by Mr Jansen, Miss Barnes, Miss Laurie and Miss Christie regarding their BeefEX experience.  

Jack Jansen  

The 2022 BeefEx conference was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the latest innovations, technologies and opportunities within the feedlot industry and celebrate its community. In addition, the Performance Feed’s welcome function provided the chance to catch up and network with people from across the supply chain, highlighting everyone’s passion for producing quality beef and their excitement for the days ahead.   

Wednesday was filled with excellent presentations from diverse speakers covering current consumer trends, leadership and supply chain management. A highlight for me was the presentation by former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, who affirmed the favourable position of the Australian beef industry to capitalise in international markets during the current economic chaos. The communication of research presentations was also fascinating, with presentations on the application of genomics, shade and bunk scanning technologies by recent honours and PhD students. The day concluded with the Gala dinner allowing everyone the opportunity to dress up and recognise the fantastic work of some of the industry’s up-and-coming leaders.          

Thursday also boasted an impressive line-up of speakers as we heard about the developing carcass technologies, the impact of lairage time on meat quality and lessons that the feedlot industry can learn from dairy farmers. Dr Calvin Booker gave a great insight into the Canadian feedlot industry and a fascinating look at the application of crush-side data technologies. The news hour presented by numerous industry leaders was also very insightful with discussion on FMD, labour shortages and international markets being very relevant.    

I am incredibly thankful to Angus Australia for the opportunity to attend the BeefEx conference and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the feed lotting supply chain. The overwhelming passion for the feedlot and broader beef industry was truly contagious as we celebrated the world-class product our industry creates on a daily basis, particularly given the challenges of the last few years.    

Brooke Barnes   

The BeefEx Conference was an invaluable experience that I had the privilege to partake in, thanks to the Angus Australia BeefEx Scholarship. As the Australian agricultural industry is a globally recognised market leader, the growing demand for the Australian feedlot industry is representative of the premium products produced. Globally as we embark on the fourth Industrial Revolution, the future grain-fed industry will be required to adopt and incorporate both existing and emerging technologies to aid in the production, processing, and quality determination of red-meat products.    

Many high-profile individuals, combined with new emerging grain-fed industry leaders, shared their wealth of knowledge, and research project findings to all delegates.  Topics discussed provided attendees with an understanding of how developments will not only focus on production of products with higher quality and quantity yields, but contributing to more sustainable carbon neutral, climate sensitive practices, and evolving consumer-demands.   

Anna Speer discussed how Greenstock was focusing on incorporating more improved sustainability practices into the business, whilst ensuring livestock, and product quality would not be impacted. The removal of plastics from the supply chain, combined with the utilisation of asparagopsis were implemented to decrease their carbon footprint, but also to decrease carbon flow within their supply chain. Anna covered current consumer trends of health, authenticity, convenience, and product affordability, whilst delving into what the future markets may be demanding. The ability to create New Product Developments to deliver sustainable, convenient, and quality products from pen to plate, Anna believes, will have a major presence in the future.    

Melissa George from Bovine Dynamics provided an insight into a short-duration lairage project conducted and the emerging results. The effects lairage duration has on carcase yield, quality, and microbiological status was assessed in order to address the incidence of dark-cutting meat occurring within the industry. Data obtained confirmed that a short-lairage duration resulted in a 7.4kg advantage in HWC, which could enable a $60/carcase increase.   

Prof Graham Gardner from ALMTECH covered emerging carcase measurement technologies, along with challenges faced within the industry. Discussion on the inclusion of the new IMF% trait involved the requirement for the development of new technologies to aid in the assessment of long-fed carcases with higher grading IMF% values. As the scale of beef production increases due to increasing affluent populations, it is vital processors can consistently, and quickly assess carcase quality and yield accurately. Therefore, the requirement to research and adopt new technologies to achieve this is vital if consumer demands and markets, nationally and internationally, are to be met.    

Prior to attending the conference, I was seeking to gain an insight into the Australian feedlot industry with a finer focus on the supply chain; new research; and new technologies, along with how the industry is adapting globally. BeefEx enabled myself to gain a great understanding of the above, combined with the opportunity to network extensively with like-minded, passionate individuals. I sincerely thank Angus Australia for enabling me to attend BeefEx, organised by ALFA, through the Angus Australia BeefEx Scholarship.    

Georgia Laurie:  

With over half of the cattle slaughtered in Australia now finished on grain, attending the grain-fed conference, BeefEx 2022, was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge on this part of the agriculture sector and its role play in the future of producing beef.   

The event kicked off with a bang where the welcome drinks featured live music and entertainment and an excellent opportunity to catch other attendees. BeefEx displayed the grain-fed industry extremely well; amongst guest speakers, there were stalls where companies displayed products.    

All presenters and guest speakers were incredible to listen to, with speakers ranging from veterinarians and researchers to presenters who spoke on the role that red meat plays as a nutrient-dense source of protein for its consumers.    

The presentation of new research was excellent, where Mellissa George from Bovine Dynamics Presented research that emphasised the importance of reducing lairage times for cattle enroute to abattoirs.   

There was an extensive discussion about how the Australian agriculture industry needs to present itself to the broader community. As we all know, media and influencers have a massive role in manipulating consumer trends and opinions,  getting these people onside is integral for improving the perception of beef production in Australia.    

Peter Costello was incredible to listen to; whilst I’m no financial guru, Peter explained the global economic trends in a graspable way with a relatable sense of humour. He highlighted that whilst trading conditions may not be ideal, Australia is in a good position as we are lucky to be able to produce our own food and energy, unlike our “motherland”…    

Andrew Brazier, the worldwide Supply Chain Director for Mcdonald’s, discussed the importance of providing a consistent product to consumers and teamwork, quoting, “”None of us is as good as all of us””.    

Prof Graham Gardner from ALMTech demonstrated new and innovative technology that will have a role in objective measurements of carcase traits. These technologies are designed to reduce human error and increase efficiency whilst ensuring that beef is presented as a consistent product to consumers. The 3D imaging stood out to me, as it made me wonder how stud stock producers will also benefit from the development of this technology, such as a more efficient way of measuring traits like hip height, P8 and rump fat and along with the potential for objective structural assessments.    

BeefEx provided a platform to meet people of all calibres and levels of involvement in the feed lotting industry. As a producer of Angus steers, it emphasised the role that feedlots have in the beef industry and the level of expertise that goes into turning our 460kg steer into a fully finished product in the most efficient way, all whilst getting treated with the uppermost care. I would like to thank Angus Australia for providing me with this opportunity. I encourage all youth members to apply for this as we all must understand the whole beef supply chain to the best of our ability- it doesn’t end when the cattle leave the property.    

Phoebe Christie  

I had the honour of attending BeefEx 22 this year thanks to a very generous scholarship from Angus Australia. Georgia Laurie and I were the fortunate recipients of this Scholarship in 2021.   

This event is dedicated to the Australian Grain-fed Beef Industry and spans two days. I found the conference highly engaging, providing me with a vast industry networking opportunity.   

This much-anticipated event brought together a range of speakers from many different facets of our industry, covering topics relating to innovation, leadership development, global economics, and key consumer trends. The presenters’ diversity provided insight into the global agricultural market and Australia’s global presence.   

Over the two days, I had the opportunity to interact with multiple trade stallholders, affording me valuable networking opportunities and attending social events that allowed me to interact with like-minded attendees. The BeefEx22 welcome function provided a relaxed atmosphere to meet and greet fellow delegates before the official conference commencement.   

The conference opened with an introduction by ALFA (Australian Lot Feeders’ Association) President Barb Madden with a supply chain discussion reviewing the journey from pen to plate. It was enlightening to hear about past, present, and future challenges that have and continue to shape the Australian Grain-fed Beef Industry.