Beef Central briefs 2 May 2014

Beef Central, 02/05/2014

Wild dogs attack more than farmer’s pockets

A new report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has for the first time examined the full economic, social and environmental impact of wild dogs in Australia. Released this week, the report, An integrated assessment of the impact of wild dogs in Australia, examined three case-study areas in different parts of Australia to evaluate the impact of wild dog management strategies. The South Western Queensland case study found that absence of wild dog management strategies could potentially cost the livestock market up to $54 million over 20 years – in an area that accounts for just 23 per cent of the state’s sheep and 4 per cent of the state’s cattle. Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce said that while the report painted a dire picture of the scale the wild dog problem, it also provided a strong platform to devise better strategies to tackle this issue. “The Coalition recognises the seriousness of this problem for many farming communities which is why we provided $10 million for pest management – including wild dogs – as part of the drought package to assist affected farmers at this time of difficulty,” Minister Joyce said.


What was Roma’s largest ever yarding?

The 14,200 cattle initially drawn by selling agents for this week’s Roma Store Sale has raised some interest as to what was the centre’s largest ever yarding. Some reports have identified a 13,900 head yarding in Roma in 2006 as the largest ever yarding at the centre, which is Australia’s biggest cattle selling centre. However it appears that even that mark may have been marginally shaded a few decades earlier. Beef Central asked Roma’s NLRS market analyst Martin Bunyard if the official records shed any light on the matter. Martin said the picture was partly sketchy because some gaps exist in the records prior to 2010, after which time MLA took over the official reporting responsibilities for Roma. The MLA records show that the previous largest yarding since it began reporting in 2010 was a 12,900 head offering in March last year (2013), making the 13,206 yarding that were ultimately yarded on Tuesday the biggest on MLA’s five-year old records. However Martin advised that the biggest all-time yarding that can be found in the existing records was achieved in 1982, when 14,000 head of store weaner cattle were penned and sold by open auction. If anyone is aware of a bigger yarding at Roma, or elsewhere for that matter, please drop us a line at

Ag ministers meeting in Melbourne today

Agriculture Ministers from across Australia and New Zealand are meeting at the inaugural Agriculture Ministers Forum in Melbourne today. The forum will continue the work of the Standing Council on Primary Industries (SCOPI) and will address strategic priorities for Australian agriculture with a focus on benefits towards the development of primary industries. NT Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries Willem Westra van Holthe joint discussions between agriculture ministers were extremely valuable for advancing collaboration between jurisdictions to benefit agricultural industries. The forum will include presentations from the Bureau of Meteorology which would provide an update on current climatic conditions, predictions for the next growing season and implications for agriculture, as well as an update on the development of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and a discussion around biosecurity matters of national significance. Mr Westra van Holthe said he would be discussing and promoting issues around Northern Australian development including expanding existing industries through diversification of pastoral land, growing the northern cattle and agricultural industries and the establishment of the Northern Agriculture Cooperative Research Centre.


AgForce launches 360 Series initiative

AgForce Queensland has launched a new initiative for 2014 designed to bring information to primary producers and to lead the agricultural discussion across the State. The AgForce 360 Series will include five industry events held across each of the AgForce regions, and aims to make high quality speakers, information and industry debate accessible to as many agriculture industry stakeholders as possible. The concept will, for this year, replace the traditional AgForce State Conference. AgForce General President, Ian Burnett, said the 360 Series sought to counter some of the travel challenges imposed by prevailing drought conditions while keeping sight of the vast opportunities before the agriculture industry. Each event in the 360 Series will be tailored to the region it falls in and will include keynote speakers, forum discussions and debate, hands-on demonstrations and networking opportunities. The first will be held in Roma on June 24-25 with others to follow in Biloela (September 3-4), Charleville (October 1-2), Blackall (November 5-6) and Brisbane (November 25). The regional events will include a pre-forum dinner and industry forum the following day while Brisbane will be a flagship event designed to engage the agribusiness and corporate sector.


Big response to White Paper

Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce says the first consultation state of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper process has drawn to a close with more than 600 submissions from around the country. The minister said it was encouraging to see such significant interest in the issues and the high level of participation from agricultural industries right across Australia. The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper taskforce visited 33 regional and metropolitan centres throughout Australia, talking directly with about 900 farmers, producers and other industry representatives. He said recurring themes arising from the consultation process included profitability (including international competitiveness, information and power imbalances – including supermarkets and processors); financing (including taxation, debt, attracting new capital); the image and contribution of farming to the nation; input costs (including regulatory burden, utilities, fertilisers, biotechnology); infrastructure (including road, rail, ports, water and communications); skills and workforce (including training, employment arrangements, visa programs); farm ownership (including succession, and entry and exit pathways); market access and market development; biosecurity; and research, development and extension. Those themes will now considered as part of the development of the Green Paper, which is the next step on the way to the White Paper.


First sod turns on Australia’s new biosecurity centre

Work to build Australia’s new Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility at a 144 hectare site in Mickleham, Victoria, started this week. The new facility will consolidate Australia’s entire existing, Government-operated, animal and plant PEQ services into a single site that will start operations in 2015.The new $379 million facility delivers a purpose built solution “light-years ahead” of the existing, ageing, facilities located in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide which will then be progressively decommissioned from 2015. Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce said that moving quarantine operations to a single site supported greater efficiency in operations. To view a 3D walk through of the new facility click on the video below


Ruralco on track for first-half profit

Ruralco Holdings has advised the ASX it expects to report a net profit for the half-year ended March 31, 2014 in the range of $4.5-$5m, when it announces the results on May 20. The result is a turnaround from the $0.5 million loss reported by Ruralco in the corresponding period last year. Managing director John Maher said the solid result could be attributed to Ruralco “continuing to grow its business geographically and diversify its revenue streams whilst attracting high quality people. He said the start up costs of Ruralco’s new live export business had been greater than expected, but most of the company’s activities had performed well in the half year. Ruralco’s acquisition of the Total Eden Group on February 28, 2014, had also given Ruralco a leading national position in water management.


Jail sentence for repeat animal cruelty offender

A Victorian sheep owner has been jailed for seven months after pleading guilty to 11 consolidated counts of cruelty and aggravated cruelty to animals under his care. Delivering the sentence in Melbourne Magistrates Court, Magistrate Peter Mealy also banned the Deer Park man from owning livestock for 10 years and ordered him to pay $40,000 costs. The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) prosecuted the case in what was one of the most serious and significant animal cruelty matters it has brought before the courts. The 11 consolidated charges were made up of 175 separate offences committed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 in July 2012 at properties near Kerang. They related to the management of approximately 2200 sheep in a farming enterprise that included an intensive lambing program in which hormones were administered to ewes with the intention of inducing two lambings a year instead of the usual one. Between 3 July and 13 July 2012, DEPI animal health officers attending the two properties found more than 40 sheep that were either dead or in such a state of debilitation immediate euthanasia was required. The accused pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty in respect to these individual animals, admitting he failed to provide them with appropriate attention and husbandry, with the result being that each animal experienced unreasonable pain and suffering. The accused also pleaded guilty to committing acts of cruelty upon animals in the flocks at each of the properties by failing to provide appropriate attention and husbandry, as well as driving a mob of 1000 sheep by land when they were in no condition to travel.

NSW Farmers launches native vegetation survey

NSW Farmers has launched a survey to ensure its submission on draft vegetation management codes in NSW captures farmer views. President Fiona Simson said native vegetation laws cost the state’s agriculture industry dearly in lost productivity and perverse environmental outcomes, and the latest self-assessable codes released by the NSW Government were impractical and unworkable. Ms Simson said it was vitally important for farmers to participate in the survey and make sure their voice is heard. “NSW Farmers is not proposing reform at the expense of environmental values – quite the opposite. We are advocating for truly balanced and reasonable native vegetation requirements and for recognition of the myriad of environmental works that farmers already undertake on a daily basis.” The NSW Government is seeking public feedback on its draft codes for the management of invasive native species, isolated paddock trees and thinning operations by May 26, 2014. Farmers can access the NSW Farmers survey at

Qld Govt to host agriculture conference on June 26

The Queensland Government will host a Queensland Agriculture Conference on June 26 in Brisbane. Agriculture minister John McVeigh said the event will bring all of the main players in Queensland agriculture together in one room to discuss major issues in farm production. He said the conference follows on from the launch of the Queensland Agriculture Strategy which provides the framework for government and industry to work together to grow agriculture “The Strategy will drive our policy agenda to achieve our target of doubling Queensland’s agricultural production by 2040,” Mr McVeigh said. A key commitment in the Strategy is the development of the first State of Queensland Agriculture Report which will establish baseline information for the industry and progress on reaching our 2040 growth target. The report will be released at the Conference. Conference sessions will be organised around the Strategy’s four key pathways – Resources, Productivity, Markets and Production.


$5000 place on Vic trade mission up for grabs

A new pilot program will provide a young food and fibre professional in Victoria with the chance to accompany the Victorian delegation on a Super Trade Mission to South East Asia in June. The Victorian Coalition Government’s pilot Travel Support Program is also offering up to $5000 to the chosen candidate for travel costs. Victorian agriculture minister Peter Walsh said the program will help the next generation of food and fibre producers and agribusiness professionals to capitalise on Victoria’s growing export markets. Applications for the Travel Support Program are open until 16 May 2014 to all financial members of the Victorian Young Farmers or the Young Agribusiness Professionals, aged 18 or over. To join VYF or YAPs, visit their respective websites or call the DEPI Young Farmer Coordinator on (03) 9637 9153. Eligible young professionals can also apply by going to


Biggest causes of workplace accidents on NT cattle stations

Northern Territory statistics show that between 2009 and 2013, there were 792 workplaces incidents in the cattle industry, which resulted in a workers compensation claim, including several fatalities. The total amount of the claims over the five years cost the industry $24,443,733. The top three causes of a workplace incident on a cattle station were veing hit by an animal (28.9pc of claims); falls from a height (25.1pc of claims), and vehicle incident (16.5pc of claims). Insurance companies charge employers in the Primary Industry Sector the highest average workers compensation premium rate of 6.192pc of remuneration, compared to the average rate of 2.314pc for all industries in the 2012/13 financial year. NT WorkSafe Officers are running a campaign from May to October 2014 which aims to increase awareness of workplace health and safety issues, and to provide information on safety inductions and risk assessments. For more information visit NT WorkSafe here


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