Beef Central news briefs 2 September 2013

Beef Central, 02/09/2013
  • Macca’s launches Angus Big Mac
  • McDonald’s sees mixed results in July sales
  • Charity event remembering Aaron Iori a great success
  • ABARES regional outlook conference in Tamworth
  • AgForce school partnership ‘top the class’
  • Looking for carpentry work in CQ
  • Pakistan imposes ban on live exports
  • Canada slaps new import levy on beef
  • More Brazilian states to soon be FMD-free with vaccine
  • Brazilian beef exports rise as currency depreciates
  • Gallagher launches new Animal Data Transfer App
  • US camera-based carcase grading accuracy questioned


Macca’s launches Angus Big Mac

McDonald’s has launched a certified Angus beef version of its flagship Big Mac burger in Australia. Since its national introduction in 1968, McDonald’s Big Mac has been composed of ‘two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun,’ according to the jingle. McDonald’s launched an Angus variant on the classic burger on August 28, as a limited-time addition, The other Angus burgers on the menu, the ‘Mighty Angus’ and ‘Grand Angus’, will remain, and continue to be popular. The two normal beef patties built on a Big Mac are replaced with a single thicker Angus pattie, a McDonald’s spokesperson confirmed. The burger is one of only a small number of official Big Mac variations McDonald’s has allowed, worldwide. In January, McDonald’s Japan brought back a four-patty Mega Mac burger it has offered before, while in Germany last year, a variation with a 45pc larger ‘Bigger Big Mac.’


McDonald’s sees mixed results in July sales

Meanwhile, there were mixed results across the globe for burger giant McDonald’s in its monthly sales result for July, with US region performance up on the same period last year, but other regions down. The combined global sales result was up 0.7 percent on this time last year, on a same store basis, described by the company as being in line with expectations. McDonald’s US region sales increased 1.6pc during July, while the Europe region saw July’s comparable sales decline 1.9pc as negative performance in Germany, France and other Southern Europe markets more than offsetting positive results in the UK and Russia. The Asia/Pacific, Middle East and North Africa region (including Australia) recorded a 1.9pc decline in comparable sales, reflecting negative results in Japan, Australia and China.  The shift in timing of this year’s Ramadan religious ceremony also negatively impacted the month’s results in the APMEA region.

Charity event remembering Aaron Iori a great success

The Australian beef industry has dug deep for a recent charity event dedicated to the life of MLA senior manager Aaron Iori, who died in January, after a courageous battle with brain cancer. Aaron started work with MLA in 2001 as a market analyst, managing the National Livestock Reporting Service for five years before heading-up the National Livestock Identification System in 2006. In 2009 he was appointed MLA’s regional manager for South East Asia and Greater China region. A foundation named “Aaron’s Wish” was formed by friends and colleagues to increase awareness of issues surrounding brain cancer within the Australian community. The foundation held a gala event in Sydney during July in remembrance of Aaron. His love of the industry was there for all to see and it was fitting that the event was heavily supported by the Australian beef industry. The event was held at a packed out Allegro function centre and raised more than $40,000. In particular, “Aarons Wish” thanked Rangers Valley, Vics Premium Quality Meats, Pacific Meats, and MCC Meats in Melbourne for their supply of quality beef and lamb product for raffles, lucky door prizes, silent auctions and on the menu on the night. Beef and lamb consumed by supporters was part of the wonderful food inspired and cooked by Justin North. One of the night’s great successes was the “Best parts of the best cow” raffle again supported by Rangers Valley and Vic Meats. Patrick Hutchinson from red meat industry consultancy firm Blue Sky Agribusiness managed and ran the raffle, where patrons bid on securing one of a number of exclusive “raffle ID tags”, supplied by Allflex. Each tag was scanned to find the eventual winners. The raffle alone raised more than $5000. Organisers are planning a similar event next year.


ABARES regional outlook conference in Tamworth

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) is bringing its agricultural commodity forecasts and economic analysis to NSW this week, with a regional outlook conference in Tamworth on Wednesday, September 4. The conference will focus on opportunities for agriculture, regional industries and environmental change, drawing on local speakers and ABARES economists to examine the region. ABARES holds Regional Outlook conferences in each state and the NT each year, taking its agricultural commodity forecasts and discussions on key issues affecting rural industries to regional communities. The Tamworth conference had been tailored to the region and will be valuable for anyone wishing to access the latest economic and scientific data and information in the agriculture sector. Attendees can hear commodity forecasts, discuss industry trends, access information and make new contacts in their community that encourage new approaches to traditional issues. Speakers including Luke Mathews, Commonwealth Bank; Keith Perrett, Grains Research and Development Corporation; Richard Heath, Innovate Ag Research; Tim Wright, Lana, Uralla; Guy Hebblewhite, Glenburnie, Tamworth / Nuffield Australia and Aaron Coutts-Smith, Bureau of Meteorology.  Cost is $110; $55 for students. To register, click here. 


AgForce school partnership ‘top the class’

Queensland rural lobby group AgForce, in partnership with Downlands College at Toowoomba, has taken home a National Australia Bank Schools First Seed Funding Award in recognition of their commitment to increasing post-school career pathways in agriculture. The AgConnect Partnership Program, launched in 2011, was recognised for its strong focus on improving students’ post-school outcomes and offering enhanced career opportunities. The Program aims to raise student awareness of the origins of food and fibre, and the importance of Australian agriculture in everyday life. Downlands College was a natural fit to support the partnership with established Agricultural Education certificate courses and a Rural Centre which provides learning opportunities for 150 students. AgForce partnership director, Wendy Allen, said the alliance fostered strong relationships in the industry and promoted rural and related industries as exciting and desirable career options. “By forming a strong partnership and developing a Hub School at the College, we hope to encourage more students to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in hands-on interactive industry sessions,” Ms Allen said. Students from schools in the region are invited to attend the Rural Centre through the AgConnect days to participate in the partnership activities promoting career opportunities in the agriculture sector. Winners of the NAB Schools First Seed Funding Award, which is now in its fifth year, receive money to support their partnership and recognise their school’s commitment to growing school-community partnerships.


Looking for carpentry work in CQ

It’s hard enough to get skilled trade work done in the bush at the best of times, so when carpenter Adam Muston contacted Beef Central recently looking for work in Central Queensland, we had no hesitation in putting this item together. Adam is a qualified carpenter looking to get into rural property house maintenance/renovations in the Central Highlands/CQ region. He describes himself as reliable and friendly, and is keen to hear from rural property owners. “I specialise in general maintenance, renovations, patios, decks, doors and skirting, floating floors, external cladding, plastering, form work and more. I also have contacts for other trades to make sure the job is complete and I cover a vast area of Central Highlands and CQ,” he told Beef Central. Reach Adam at Muston Carpentry on 0488 400 249, email:


Pakistan imposes ban on live exports

Pakistan has imposed a ban on live cattle exports effective from October 1 – not for any animal welfare reasons, but because the country is concerned it is ‘robbing itself’ of raw material for its large tanning and leather industry. The directive has come via Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Economic Coordination Committee. “After taking serious view of the demands from the Pakistan Tanners Association, the ECC decided to put a ban on live animals exports in order to save national loss as well as damaging the most important sector of Pakistan’s agro economy,” a statement said. Apparently Pakistan had a modest, but growing live cattle and goat trade into the UAE, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. Last year export of live animals increased to US$210m, creating a shortage of raw material for the country’s leather industry. Pakistan claims to be ‘second only to Italy as far as quality of leather is concerned,’ with total export value of leather at US$1.8 billion during 2011-12. Pakistan’s domestic beef herd fell 3.2pc at June 30, compared with a year earlier.


Canada slaps new import levy on beef

Canada’s agriculture ministry has imposed a new levy on beef imports. The beef industry in 2002 established the first promotion and research agency in Canada known as the Canadian Beef Cattle R&D and Promotion Agency – since re-named Canada Beef. The agency is collecting one Canadian dollar per head of Canadian cattle marketed and the money is used to fund research and promotion efforts for the whole beef industry. The announcement last week will extend this domestic levy into all beef imports, on a bones equivalent basis. It is estimated that the levy will raise an additional CAD$800,000 each year from imported beef (mostly from the US) to promote domestic Canadian beef. A similar levy to this has applied for years to Australian beef entering the US.


More Brazilian states to soon be FMD-free with vaccine

An additional eight Brazilian states in the country’s northeast are likely to be recognised by Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture as FMD-free with vaccination soon. With the new territory included, 99pc of Brazil’s cattle and buffalo herds and 78pc of the nation’s total land area will be authorized as FMD-free with vaccination, up from 89pc of herds and 60pc of national territory, previously. The Pará state is already declared FMD-free, following past approval of the state’s central and southern regions. Additional declarations were expected for the states of Alagoas, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí and Rio Grande do Norte. Brazil’s next step will be to send a request to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in October seeking approval for export into new international markets. Brazil’s beef industry goal is to have the entire country approved as FMD-free by 2015. Cattle herds would still have to be immunized in the highest-risk states of Amapá, Roraima and part of the Amazon, however those states may soon be downgraded to medium risk. Brazilian states already certified as FMD-free with vaccination include: Acre, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, São Paulo, Sergipe and Tocantins. Santa Catarina is the only state considered FMD-free without vaccination, and has been since 2007. The last Brazilian outbreak of FMD was in 2006, in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Parana.


Brazilian beef exports rise as currency depreciates

Brazilian beef exports during July totalled 105,100 tonnes, up 20pc on the previous month and the highest volume since July 2007. Assisting the considerable growth has been the steady depreciation of the Brazilian currency (Real), which averaged 48US¢ for the first seven months of 2013, down 9.4pc year-on-year. The uncertain Brazilian economic scenario and the US economic recovery has contributed to a further recent fall with the Real, which was quoted at US43¢ recently – the lowest quote in almost four years.


Gallagher launches new Animal Data Transfer App

Gallagher has released a new version of its Animal Data Transfer App, called Version 1.2, which is now available for download. The new app allows users to transfer animal data directly to the NLIS database from an HR3 hand-held tag reader and Android smartphone, without the need to use a computer. The software allows animal data to be transferred in three easy steps, directly from the yards. The system is fast and easy-to-use. The free new app is available from the Google Play store.


US camera-based carcase grading accuracy questioned

A recent report from USDA’s Office of the Inspector General said that the standards for the camera-grading system used to evaluate and grade about 40pc of beef carcases harvested in the US needs to be re-evaluated. The report noted that inaccuracies and loopholes in the system may mean that carcases are incorrectly graded, potentially costing US consumers $375m a year. “As long as the Agricultural Marketing Service relies on and encourages the use of these cameras to assist AMS graders, the methodology used to define the cameras’ grading classifications must be established in a way that is objective and transparent to all interested stakeholders,” the OIG report said. “When AMS initially established these classifications, industry objected that the cameras’ grading did not conform to what the graders were doing in the plants; ultimately, AMS agreed to lower the grades. The new lower grading classifications meant more beef would receive higher grades, which may be correct. If these classifications are not correct; however, and the marbling scores originally determined by the agency were more accurate, then, comparatively, consumers may be overpaying,” the report said. The OIG used AMS’s own calculations to arrive at the $375m figure. MeatingPlace said USDA had agreed to a number of recommendations for verifying the ensuring the ongoing accuracy of the camera-grading system, including having its methodologies evaluated by third-party experts, clarifying policies related to camera grading, reviewing certification programs and ensuring the cameras themselves are properly calibrated and maintained.





Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Beef Central's news headlines emailed to you -