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NTCA conference: Are producers pushing production over profit?

Beef Central, 27/03/2013

Dr Ian Braithwaite presenting at the NTCA conference in Darwin. Is the northern cattle industry guilty of pushing production over profit?

Mount Isa based cattle vet and industry consultant Dr Ian Braithwaite told last Friday’s Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) conference that it is not enough for producers to focus on production.

Rather, he urged them to identify and understand the key profit drivers required to be successful in the northern pastoral industry.

Dr Braithwaite said many northern pastoral businesses were operating in ‘survivability’ mode not ‘profitability’ mode due to production focused habits and behaviours.

“Often we as an industry keep doing the same things day in and day out hoping that someday we’ll meet that goal of higher live weight gains or weaning percentages; we don’t take the time to reflect on the structure of our business and really understand what’s working for us and against us” Dr Braithwaite said.

“A balanced business is a profitable business and it starts with understanding the dynamics of your cow herd, business make-up and overall production system,” said Dr Braithwaite.

Dr Braithwaite strongly maintains that northern beef production systems should be designed around the financial and climatic constraints of a business.

“I work with pastoralists from Townsville to Broome. Those who operate with an understanding for their natural environment and economic realities are those that perform at best,” Dr Braithwaite said.

Dr Braithwaite said northern producers have a lot to consider when developing a balanced business.

“Every region and environment is different. The business, herd and production dynamics in Katherine will differ to that of Alice Springs; and it’s these differences and how they are accounted for that will make the difference,” concluded Dr Braithwaite.

Source: Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association

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