Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Major Innovation Excellence Award for Northern Beef Industry

The northern beef cattle industry is a major industry and income generator in tropical Australia, with pastoral activities the dominant land use across the region. Most of this beef is exported, some as live cattle, and the industry faces significant challenges from low cost producer countries [ including some from S America] in coming years. It will need to boost productivity to meet these issues and retain the excellent profile as a deliverer of excellent quality beef at a market leading price.........and it is generally an industry with very low to zero chemical input.

A groundbreaking new approach to boosting on-farm productivity and profitability that will meet this challenge, and which involves beef producers and pastoral companies from across northern Australia has been recognised with a national Excellence in Innovation award.

"Beef Profit Partnerships", initiated by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and then further developed by Australia's largest integrated beef research program, the Beef Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) has been recognised with a Co-operative Research Centre Association (CRCA) Excellence in Innovation Award. The program is already operational across much of the major pastoral zone in the north.

Beef producer, Phil Chalmers, a Beef Profit Partnership participant accepted the award on behalf of the Beef CRC. Mr Chalmers anticipates his involvement in a Beef Profit Partnership will boost his on farm productivity by 20 per cent and double his farm income.

Beef Profit Partnerships use an approach called "Continuous Improvement and Innovation" which has been tailored to fast track the uptake of new technology for the thousands of beef businesses across Australian and New Zealand.

Forecast to improve beef business profits by at least five per cent in just two years, Beef CRC chief executive officer, Dr Heather Burrow, said the award officially recognised the Beef CRC's forward thinking in addressing the uptake of technology by beef industry end-users. "With so many new beef technologies in the pipeline, we need to make sure industry is ready and willing to implement these technologies which we predict will dramatically change the way producers and suppliers do global business in the future," Dr Burrow said. "With the help of extension staff from the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, along with Meat and Livestock Australia and Meat and Wool New Zealand, Beef CRC Beef Profit Partnerships will bridge the research-industry gap by bringing researchers and producers together," Dr Burrow said.

"Beef Profit Partnerships will consist of cattle producers, feedlotters, processors working with Beef CRC extension specialists using their own beef businesses to measure, monitor and evaluate current practices and set new goals and objectives to improve profitability. "This approach will deliver clear communication up and down the beef supply chain, while at the same time improving business performance."

More than 40 Beef Profit Partnerships have been established to date and consist of more than 500 cattle producers, the major northern Australian pastoral companies and feedlotters and meat processors from throughout Australia. Plans are underway to extend to New Zealand in coming months.

In Queensland, Beef Profit Partnerships will be established with all major Northern pastoral companies as well as in more central regions of Bajool, Biloela and the Burdekin and Charters Towers regions. There are existing partnershps in most of the major Northern Territory beef production areas.

Beef Profit Partnerships will start soon in Moura, Mackenzie River and Nebo and across Southern Queensland. A Beef Supply Chain Partnership has also been established in conjunction with a Queensland based beef processor and exporter.

[ based on Beef CRC media release]

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