Angus breeders are considering a herd accreditation scheme in a bid to protect their premium stamp and commercial advantage.
In response to feedback from lotfeeders and processors about the need for assurance black hided animals supplied as Angus genuinely fit the bill, Angus Australia has suggested the idea as a means to progress the Angus brand of integrity.
The breed society has launched an initiative aimed at building greater engagement through the beef supply chain and the first stage of consultation red flagged the challenges the market has with being certain they are sourcing Angus.
Commercial supply chain manager at Angus Australia Liz Pearson, who is heading up the new program, spoke about the issue at the Angus National Conference in Ballarat last week.
The number one thing the supply chain wants from Angus, she said, was “some assurance that if a black hided animal is supplied as Angus, it actually is Angus.”
“That is their biggest challenge and it’s becoming more prominent as time goes forward,” she said.
“The average prices Angus bulls are bringing compared to other black hided bulls means there is incentive for replacement at a cheaper price.
“That lack of certainty means there is concern from those past the farmgate that the cattle they have bought may not meet customer specs or perform as expected.”
The Angus herd accreditation could potentially generate a register of herds that other sections of the supply chain could refer to, she said.
While the idea is still in its early stages, the suggestion was those accredited would be an Angus Australia member, there would be a minimum Angus breed content stipulated, the herd would need to have ownership or rights to the Angus sire and the sire would need to be verified as Angus.
Annual spot herd audits would be held.
Extension programs that ensure specific market requirements might then be joined to the program as it develops.
The new Angus Australia commercial supply chain program aims to develop collaborations with key beef industry participants that will generate value across the supply chain, in particular for Angus Australia members. While the program’s initial phase has focused heavily on the feedlot and processing sectors, it will now move on to engage those across the commercial sector, agency sector and other service providers for beef production.
“Time and time again the most common feedback I’ve received is the supply chain wants to work with Angus Australia and its members,” Ms Pearson said.
“There is strong interest in building relationships and a lot of importance is placed on that with regards to the success of their businesses.”
What does the supply chain think of the Angus breed?
There is a strong perception of significant variation within Angus, which delivers a multitude of opportunities as the most versatile and acceptable breed for targeting different markets.
“The attributes the supply chain feels are important for us to maintain a focus on are having a fertile breeding herd, understanding the maturity patterns of cattle, their ability to marble and making sure animals can finish without too much drama,” she said.
And there was strong feedback about the adaptability of the Angus female for northern Australia when utilised in a crossbreeding program.
Along with a way to guarantee Angus is Angus, the supply chains also wants to see a greater understanding by producers of market requirements, genetic improvement, efficient management, nutritional requirements, correct completion of NVDs and paperwork and the utilisation of feedback and performance data, Ms Pearson reported.
What does the feedlot sector want?
Large lots that fit specifications and correct pre-entry preparation – a healthy animal is a more profitable one and they will come back and buy again if they know you supply healthy and profitable animals, she said.
Consistency, weight for age and marbling were also important.
And the commercial producer?
Market information such as specifications, prices and the know-how to secure a premium.
“That desire for more information lines up with what is coming from the other end – processors clearly want producers to be seeking, and using, more information,” Ms Pearson said.
Producers also want assurance the seedstock industry is commercially focussed, opportunities to differentiate and a way to determine how their performance compares to that of their peers.
Angus Australia is keen to hear any feedback or suggestions regarding the herd accreditation scheme and would encourage all readers to contact Liz Pearson, 02 6773 4608 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Shan Goodwin, The Land