People on the Move: Recent industry appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, 08/07/2014

Beef Central publishes an occasional list of significant recent appointments, departures or achievements occurring across the red meat supply chain, both private sector and government. Details for submissions for future listings are provided at the bottom of this article….


AA Co’s new livestock sales and logistics manager


aaco-3d-floatinglogohorn-green_jpgThe Australian Agricultural Co has appointed David Hunter to a newly-created company role, as manager of livestock sales and logistics.

Mr Hunter worked previously with JBS Australia, where he operated as part of the sales team, specialising in by-products. He previously also spent time with Consolidated Pastoral Co, in a livestock role.

His new position will involve working with AA Co’s Pastoral Group, Feedlot Group and Branded Beef Group in coordinating livestock movements between the three, and external store and slaughter cattle sales. He started in his new role in late June.

The Australian Agricultural Co holds its 2014 annual general meeting in Brisbane on Thursday next week.


Accolades as much-respected Woolies buyers hang up their hats

Two veteran Woolworths cattle buyers were farewelled by friends, colleagues and business acquaintances last week, ending long associations with beef producers in their respective regions.

Dennis Strachan, who represented Woolworths out of Tamworth, NSW, and Jim Lenthall, based out of Murray Bridge in South Australia, both retired last Friday, July 4.

Jim Lenthall

Jim Lenthall

Jim Lenthall started working life as a wool classer, working all over South Australia including outback sheep stations, before becoming an A-class slaughterman at Metro Meats’ Noarlunga plant, breaking beef and boning out bodies.

He later became a trainee buyer with Fosters Meat and Skin Co, buying cattle, pigs, bobby calves, sheep and lambs, before working with Jacksons Meat Exports, buying cattle, sheep and lambs.

Having already accumulated strong livestock knowledge during his earlier career, he joined Woolworths in 1980, spending the next 35 years representing the company buying lambs and cattle across South Australia and western Victoria.

Dennis Strachan

Dennis Strachan

Dennis Strachan had a somewhat similar career path, starting work with Riverston Meat Co in 1966 as a livestock buyer. From 1983 to 1988 he worked as a commission buyer based out of Manilla in NSW, buying lambs and cattle for FC Nichols, Woy Woy, Melrose Meats and others.

In 1988 he accepted a position with Angliss group as livestock manager at the company’s Naracoorte SA plant, before joining Woolworths in 1995. He spent the next 19 years living mostly at Singleton NSW, as Woolies’ northern livestock manager, buying beef.

Dennis was noted for his keen eye for livestock, leading to his judged led steer and cattle shows all over the country, from the Brisbane Royal Exhibition to Adelaide Royal Show, and numerous steer/heifer shows throughout Australia.

“Both Jim and Dennis have been a valuable part of the success of Woolworths’ meat business over their many years of service,” Woolworths national beef procurement manager, Brett Thompson said last week.

“It is through the dedication of staff like Jim and Dennis that the company has been able to provide such consistent, high quality beef to customers across Australia,” he said.

Both Jim and Dennis were farewelled with a series of company and industry dinners across their respective regions last week.


Alex farewells Limousin breed after 22 years

Respected beef breed society administrator Alex McDonald stepped down as general manager of Limousin Australia on June 30, after 22 years at the helm of the organisation.

Mr McDonald will take up a new role managing the Australian Cattle Genetics Export Agency division at the Agricultural Business Research Institute in Armidale, NSW.

Alex McDonald

Alex McDonald

The division undertakes the certification of breeding cattle exported to Russia, Kazakhstan and China.

Mr McDonald will also head up the extension division at ABRI, which includes the Southern Beef Technology Services and Northern Beef Technology Services projects.

He is one of the longest serving general managers among Australian breed societies with only Geoff Taylor, with the Hereford society, and John Croaker, with the Australian Brahman Breeders, serving longer terms.

With 524 full members, Limousin Australia is the fifth largest beef breed in Australia based on membership and, with 6783 registrations last year, it ranks as the sixth largest breed based on registrations.

“Our National sale in May had a 10 year high average price, reflecting confidence in the breed in a fairly tough marketing environment,” Mr McDonald said.

During his time with Limousin Australia, he was instrumental in the uptake of Breedplan by Limousin breeders, especially the introduction of an estimated breeding value for docility – a first for Australian breeds.

Under his leadership, the Limousin breed was the first to implement an Information Nucleus program involving a young sire progeny test program.

The comprehensive phenotypic measurements of significant numbers of calves along with DNA ‘SNP’ tests have already been used to test genomic prediction equations for Limousin developed by Igenity and the former Co-operative Research Centre for Beef Genomics.

The society also combined with New Zealand for the first trans-Tasman BreedPlan analysis in 1995 and incorporated their membership in 2009.

In another breed first, the performance data from Australia and NZ analysis will soon be combined with data from South Africa and Namibia in a single southern hemisphere Limousin BreedPlan analysis. Mr McDonald said having Limousin EBVs from four countries on a common base would facilitate trade in genetic material.

“In terms of markets, a boon for Limousin has been the move by Coles to sell only beef from animals not treated with HGPs, as Limousins have natural muscling due to the unique F94L muscling gene,’’ he said. This gene protects against over fatness, particularly in heifers.

“Important markets, such as the European Union, Russia and China, have a zero tolerance of HGPs, so I believe they will eventually be banned in Australia in order to protect important markets.”

Mr McDonald considers the breed’s major role to lie in crossbreeding programs with high retail beef yields and tropical cowherds to satisfy the domestic market.

“Limousins have an important role to play in producing HGP-free beef with high retail beef yields and acceptable Meat Standards Australia index scores,”’ he said.

Limousin Australia office manager Fran O’Dea will take over as executive officer of Limousin Australia, with marketing and technical services to be outsourced.


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