Input costs rise in December quarter
Input costs for cattle producers have risen by 3pc in northern Australia and 2pc in the past quarter respectively, according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s latest Beef Producers Input Price Indices (BPIPI) report. MLA attributes the rise in the north to a 14pc year-on-year lift in the capital cost of the beef herd, which has been steadily increasing throughout 2014, to 155.23 points, on the back of higher replacement cattle prices. Interest rates in the north remained unchanged on year-ago levels, at 51.47 points, while repairs and maintenance (242.97 points) as well as depreciation on plant and equipment (176.55 points) were up 2pc and 5pc during the quarter, respectively. Wages for hired labour moved 3pc higher on last year’s levels, at 256.15 points. In the south, the capital cost of the beef herd rose to a lesser extent than the north, up 6pc year-on-year, to 145.58 points. Depreciation on plant and equipment was up 5pc in the December quarter, compared to last year, at 176.55 points. Repairs and maintenance increased 2pc, to 242.97 points, while interest and wages for hired labour indices were the same as in the north.
Is my beef enterprise as profitable as it could be?
CashCow information days at Emerald and Clermont planned for later this month will help producers to find simplest and cheapest ways to make significant production and profit gains. MLA’s CashCow project collected information on 78,000 cows across 72 properties in northern Australia over four years. Guest speakers at Narrien Station, Clermont, on 25 February, and Emerald on 26 February, will be Project Leader Prof Michael McGowan, of the University of Queensland, Dr Geoffry Fordyce, QAAFI and Dave Smith, DAFF. To register for either event contact Mellissa Holzart on 0477 755 243 or visit the FutureBeef website.
AgForce mining, CSG workshops
AgForce Projects is heading to Central Queensland in March to deliver free workshops, aimed at informing landholders on the Regional Planning Interests (RPI) Act, mining and coal seam gas (CSG). CSG Project Leader Daniel Phipps said holding three different workshops in the same region was a great opportunity for landholders to attend an event that suits their specific needs or interests. The events details are: Emerald CSG, mining and regional planning information session – Tuesday 3 March, 9am to 1pm; Middlemount CSG and mining information session – Wednesday 4 March, 9am to 1pm; Moura Advanced CSG and mining negotiation support workshop – Thursday 5 March, 9am to 1pm. Producers interested in attending can visit www.agforceprojects.org.au for more information or to register.
Grazing Land Management EDGE Workshop
A workshop designed to give graziers a practical and planned approach to improving productivity and sustainability on their properties will be held at Emerald from March 24-26. The Grazing Land Management EDGE network workshop is designed to help graziers who are keen to map areas of paddocks, calculate carrying capacities or look at the tree-grass balance within their grazing system. Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) beef extension officer Byrony Daniels said attendees will also be provided with satellite and land type mapping for their properties.The workshop costs $1760 per person or $1485 per person if two attend from the same business, however Ms Daniels urged graziers to take advantage of an early bird discount. “If participants get in quick and pay before 16 February, they can save $150 on the registration fee,” she said. The Fitzroy Basin Association is also offering to reimburse up to 70 per cent of the cost, capped at $700 per business. Ms Daniels said this workshop was being offered due to demand identified throughout Grazing Best Management Practices (BMP) workshops conducted in Central Queensland last year. For more information on any of the scheduled courses, please contact DAFF beef extension officer Byrony Daniels on 07 4983 7467, email Byrony Daniels or visit www.futurebeef.com.au.
Feedback sought on draft South Australian Wild Dog Strategic Plan
The South Australian Wild Dog Advisory Group is seeking feedback on draft a Wild Dog Strategic Plan for South Australia. Management of wild dogs is essential for sustainability of South Australia’s extensive livestock industries. The pastoral sheep industry based inside (south of) the dog fence is especially at risk, but the pastoral cattle industry, mostly outside the fence can also be seriously impacted. The plan outlines a coordinated State-wide approach to managing the threats and the benefits of wild dogs based on a system of three management zones centred on the South Australian dog fence. Successful wild dog management requires a coordinated approach by government, industry and community stakeholders. It is important that all interested parties have a say on the draft plan so that the views of a broad cross-section of the community is represented. Community consultation closes: Friday 27 February 2015. For more information, to access the full draft strategy documents and to comment, please visit: www.environment.sa.gov.au/haveyoursay/wild-dog-strategic-plan
Can beef production help restore ecosystems?
A team of US scientists, advisors and communications specialists are banding together to explore whether cattle management can create robust soils, watersheds and wildlife habitat while sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide. The Arizona State University-Soil Carbon Nation team is examining the adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing management technique that involves using small-sized fields to provide short periods of grazing for livestock and long recovery periods for fields. The method mimics the migrations of wild herd animals, such as elk, bison and deer. The science team proposes a whole system science measurement approach in comparing AMP grazing with conventional, continuous grazing methods. The study will compare 36 ranches located in four diverse eco-regions across the US and southern Canada. The project will focus specifically on answering the question: “What is the best rangeland management technique for significantly sequestering carbon in rangeland soils and improving rangeland socio-ecological systems?” Previous research led by Richard Teague at Texas A&M University shows that ranches practicing AMP grazing sequestered an additional 30 tons of carbon per hectare over 10 years compared to conventionally grazed ranches.