News briefs 20-7

Beef Central, 20/07/2011

US production to decline

Latest USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates continue to highlight the expectation for a decline in US beef production in 2012. US beef production is forecast to decline 4.3pc year-on-year in 2012. That’s equivalent to a decline of a little more than 500,000 tonnes (carcase weight) of beef – the combined annual production of Victoria, SA and Tasmania in 2010. With the decline in US beef production for 2012, beef imports are expected to increase 13.5pc year-on-year, while US exports are tipped to slip 4pc, after surging in 2011. Both the lower US exports and higher import demand forecast for 2012 is positive news for the Australian industry.


McDonald’s tries marketing alternative

The Japanese division of the McDonald's burger chain has begun sending personalised electronic discount vouchers to ten million frequent customers, based on its analysis of consumers' purchasing patterns and a belief that traditional mass advertising promotion may have reached its limit. McDonald's Japan is offering a discount coupon program for NFC-enabled mobile phone owners, who already use cellular payment for train fares, store purchases and McDonald's meals. Users can receive, select and download coupons, making their purchases ten times faster than by other means. More than 40 million Japanese have NFC-enabled cell phones, which first went on the market there in 2004. When the registered user makes a purchase at a McDonalds, they wave their mobile phone near the RFID reader at the cash register to redeem the coupon. McDonalds was the first dine-out restaurant to utilise the service, and will now extend it into all Japanese stores.


Australian agribusiness performance drops

The economic performance of Australian agribusinesses eased and business confidence waned in the June 2011 quarter, according to the latest Westpac and Charles Sturt University (CSU) Agribusiness Index released this week. Australian agribusiness and in particular the producer sector was feeling the pinch from rising operating costs, uncertainties caused by the live cattle ban and the residual impact of adverse weather earlier in the year, Westpac’s agribusiness chief executive Graham Jennings said. This had caused the overall economic performance of agribusiness across Australia to fall slightly and business confidence to wane. Results from the quarterly survey are used to calculate the Economic Performance Index (EPI) based on the average results for business performance, employment and investment indicators. The EPI ranges between -1 (worst result) and +1 (best) where a ‘satisfactory’ result is zero. For Australia the overall EPI fell slightly to +0.04 in the June quarter, down from +0.05 in the March quarter. One of the major contributors to lower business confidence particularly among producers in Queensland and WA was the ban on live cattle exports.


US exports higher

US beef exports in May reached 104,000 tonnes, 15.4pc higher than a year ago. In the first five months of the year, US exports reached 491,000t, 103,000t or 27pc higher than the comparable period a year ago. The latest WASDE report raised the estimate for US beef exports in 2011 to 2.613 billion pounds (+314 mil lbs. more than in 2010) and that figure could be raised again in coming months on strong beef demand from Asian and North American markets. While US beef exports to Korea declined 10pc in May, shipments to Japan remained very strong, being 50.4pc higher than a year ago and the largest monthly volume to this market since December 2003.


Japanese beef plant audit starts

A Japanese systems audit of Australian export beef processing plants began this week. Three abattoirs and an analytic laboratory have so far been inspected during the visit.



NSW Farmers call for red meat pricing review

NSW Farmers’ is calling for an investigation into the large disparity between the price paid for meat at the farm gate and the retailer. The Productivity Commission will be encouraged to undertake a review into the red meat industry in Australia. NSW Farmers’ Cattle Committee Chair Richard Chamen said in a press release last night that more than 350 farmers attending the NSW Farmers’ Annual Conference in Sydney have voted in favour of the move. “At the moment the retailer has by far the largest margin in the supply chain to the consumer,” he said. “To put it in perspective the retailer receives around 40 percent of the total value of the product, while only contributing around 20 percent of total costs. “That’s compared to the breeder who receives half of the value that the retailer receives (20 percent) whilst absorbing similar costs (25pc),” Mr Chamen said.“Producers want an investigation to pin-point where excessive profits are being made along the supply chain,” he said.

RSPCA teaching anti-live export propaganda: Coalition

The coalition has accused the RSPCA of teaching anti-live-export ''propaganda'' to students with a fact sheet for teachers and students labelled one-sided and inaccurate. Opposition agriculture spokesman John Cobb told the Australian newspaper this week farmers no longer trusted the RSPCA and wanted nothing to do with it after seeing the World of Animal Welfare website. The website details why live exports exist and the number of animals that die on route. The fact sheet says animals go to countries where animal welfare laws do not exist. The information concludes with a template letter students can send to the Prime Minister urging her to end the trade. ''It is beyond belief that a once widely respected and credible organisation such as the RSPCA could sink to using schools to proliferate anti-industry propaganda,'' Mr Cobb said.


Elders submits export application

ABC radio has reported that Elders yesterday became the first exporter to submit an application to the Federal Government to re-export cattle to Indonesia. Elders hopes to ship its first consignment of live cattle to Indonesia by August 1.

Beef Australia launches new website

Beef Australia has launched a new website to showcase the Beef Australia 2012 expo to be held in Rockhampton on May 7-12 next year. The website, developed by FM Studios following a design review by Cox Inall Communications, features information on Beef 2012 events, including cattle competitions and the International Genetics Conference. There are accommodation options, translations for international guests, and details on how you can participate in Beef Australia 2012. The site features  news announcements, You Tube videos, and links to social media channels on Twitter and Facebook. The site can be found at



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