National conferences ahead for Angus, Herefords, Shorthorns

Jon Condon, 02/04/2013


David Maconochie. Hopkins River Beef, will speak at this year's Angus Australia conferenceTHE three largest British breeds used in commercial cattle production in Australia will independently hold conferences across New South Wales over the next six weeks.

Angus Australia will host its annual two-day national conference and workshop in Wagga Wagga on Monday and Tuesday, April 29 and 30.

The first day is designated as an ‘entry level’ workshop for people keen to get started in the seedstock business, while day-two’s national conference is for more established producers.

Angus Australia’s marketing manager Sonya Buck said the events were open to all, and participants were welcome to attend one or both days. Stakeholders from the US and New Zealand would also take part.

“I’m pleased that this year we are introducing entry-level information for students and those new to cattle production by providing the workshop on Day One.  It will also serve as a good lead-in to the more detailed information shared on Day Two,” she said.


Key speakers for the April 30 national conference this year will include:

  • David Maconochie from Hopkins River Beef, discussing lotfeeders’ requirements for Angus feeder steers. Hopkins River feedlot near Dunkeld in Victoria runs a number of successful grainfed programs including branded supply of premium 100-day no-HGP beef into Coles supermarkets
  • Pfizer Animal Genetics’ Dr Kent Anderson will speak on how Australian seedstock cattle breeders and their clients can benefit from genomics technology
  • Danica Leys from NSW Farmers will tackle the question, “Should cattle breeders be using social media?”
  • Dougall Purcell from Victorian DPI will explain how the Angus Youth program has helped kick-start his career.
  • Angus Australia chief executive Dr Peter Parnell will provide early results from the Angus sire benchmarking program.

The day will also include a lively question and answer panel session, facilitated by Fiona Myers from the Weekly Times, exploring the topic, “Should we be using more Australian-bred Angus genetics?”

An informal reception will be held after the conference’s Day Two program at the venue, the Wagga Wagga RSL Club.

The previous day’s introductory workshop to Angus breeding will cover topics including:

  • Getting started in the Angus seedstock business
  • How to register and record seedstock
  • Understanding EBVs
  • How to manage and submit performance data for Breedplan analysis
  • Understanding DNA technologies (Pfizer’s Matias Suarez)
  • Marketing Angus seedstock.

Trade display areas are still available to commercial goods and service providers at both days.    

Following a successful formula applied at last year’s conference in Ballarat, Angus Australia has also organised a two-day tour of the Riverina area where participants will visit local cattle enterprises and enjoy a delicious Angus dinner taking place at a leading steakhouse in Wagga Wagga.



Hereford breeders head to Armidale


JBS feedlot manager Cameron Hilton will address the Herefords conference on EU grainfed opportunitiesHerefords Australia will host a breed development conference with a focus on genetics and genomics in Armidale this month.

Hereford breeders will have the chance to hear the latest information on the evolution of genetics and DNA testing from University of Queensland animal science leader, Dr Emily Piper, during the two-day program on Monday and Tuesday April 15 and 16 at the Armidale Ex- Services Club.

The event will tackle some of the big issues facing Hereford breeders such as the evolution and impact of genetics and DNA testing and the commercial sector’s thoughts on the breed’s development.

Herefords Australia chief executive John McKew said the breed development conference was a chance for  breeders to find out where the industry is heading and how they can be part of that process.

The conference program will also include two discussion panels, with the first on Day One looking at what the audience felt they had learnt from the day, and the second on Day Two as a Q&A session with a number of Herefords Australia directors.

“These discussion panels are a way for breeders to ensure they can get the information they are looking for, while also helping us as an organisation find out what their needs are,” Mr McKew said.

UQ’s Dr Emily Piper will deliver a presentation on the evolution of genetics and DNA testing. She said that DNA testing to predict economically important traits in cattle had evolved rapidly over the past few years.

“As genomic selection programs that augment traditional methods of selection are implemented, the way in which laboratories test for inherited disorders and selective traits has changed considerably. New technologies developed in the US to test for multiple traits and disorders in one assay are now available in Australia and will form the basis of ongoing genomic selection programs in beef cattle,” she said.

Other speakers will include:

  • MLA chief economist Tim McRae on the future of Australia’s beef markets
  • Dr David Johnston from Armidale’s Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit on future directions in Hereford genetics
  • Dr Rob Banks and Geoff Taylor will deliver an update on the Progeny Test (BIN) projects and why they are so important for the Hereford breed’s future.
  • Cameron Hilton, national feedlot manager for JBS, who will speak on Herefords within JBS grainfed operations, and opportunities in the emerging EU high-quality grainfed segment.

The program will also include a visit to Tullimba research feedlot on the afternoon of April 16 to view Hereford Progeny Test and NFI trial steers.  

Herefords Australia plans to hold a second breed development conference for southern Australian breeders in Albury on July 29 and 30.



Shorthorn breeders to meet at Tamworth

The inaugural Shorthorn Beef national conference will be held at the Tamworth Sustainable Farming Systems Centre on Sunday and Monday, May 5 and 6.

The full conference program is still being finalised, and Beef Central will publish program highlights as they become available.

The Tamworth program will encompass the Shorthorn Beef annual general meeting on Sunday, May 5, and will include sessions on marketing the product, market requirements and opportunities and developing relationships with the end-users of their product.

The information will be delivered by independent marketing specialists from MLA and the leading lotfeeders, processors and retailers of beef.







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