Strong speaker lineup for Darwin’s Northern Beef Research Update Conference   

Beef Central, 07/08/2023

A STRONG lineup of international and local speakers will feature during the Northern Beef Research Update Conference being staged in Darwin later this month.

More than 200 delegates from across the meat and livestock and land management research community, extension personnel, industry advisers, agribusiness representatives, producers and students involved or interested in the northern Australian beef industry will be attending.

The Update Conference is the pre-eminent conference for Australia’s northern beef research sector, providing participants with the latest results and technical information about key areas of cattle research and management in the region.

This year’s biennial conference, marking 30 years of representation by the North Australian Beef Research Council (see outline below), runs from Tuesday August 22 to Friday August 25.

Keynote speakers this year include:

Dr David Riley, Professor of Animal Breeding and Genomics in the Department of Animal Science and a member of the Faculty of Genetics at Texas A&M University. Dr Riley’s research is focused on genomics and quantitative genetics of livestock. He was previously a beef cattle research geneticist with the US Department of Agriculture and University of Florida from 2000 to 2009. His conference topic is Applications of western US beef cattle research to northern Australia.

Dr Derek Bailey is a Professor of Range Science at New Mexico State University. His research interests include precision livestock management, rangeland cattle production, grazing management and animal welfare. He also teaches courses in rangeland management, research methods and statistical analyses, low-stress livestock handling, plant communities, vegetation monitoring and rangeland restoration. Before coming to New Mexico State U, Prof Bailey worked as a researcher for Montana State U and USDA-ARS in Oklahoma. He also was a range management consultant in Nevada and an extension agent in Arizona. His conference presentation is titled Getting it right with animal breeding and genetics for challenging environments.

Dr David Beatty is an Australian veterinarian with a PhD and background in agriculture research. He currently works as MLA’s Group Manager for Productivity and Wellbeing.  This role focuses on delivering R&D across on farm program areas including beef, sheep and goat productivity, animal health and welfare, feedbase, feedlot and live export. He joined MLA in 2009 as Live Export R&D Manager, later working between 2012 and 2017 based in the Middle East, firstly as Livestock Services Manager and then as MLA’s Regional Manager for the Middle East/North Africa.

Associate Professor Heather Smyth from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation is a flavour chemist and sensory scientist who has worked with premium food and beverage products for the past 20 years. With a background in wine flavour chemistry, her expertise is in understanding consumer enjoyment of foods in terms of sensory properties, structure and composition. Heather has a special interest in describing and articulating food quality, understanding regional flavours of locally Australian grown produce, and modelling food flavour and textural properties using instrumental measurements. In recent years she has pioneered a new approach to branding Australian premium beef by focusing on developing specific sensory language to describe beef aroma and flavour.

Heather collaborates with a number of companies and research groups to discover how and why consumers enjoy food, which aids in the design and production of superior agri-food products with increased consumer value.

Recipe for success

This year’s conference Recipe for Success theme will feature presentations from leading industry researchers who will review and report on recently completed, and ongoing research projects that support the northern beef industry to continue to improve profitability, resilience and sustainability.

Beef bites

The conference will also feature a series of Beef Bites: three-or ten-minute presentations under one of five themes:

  • Livestock performance and management
  • Feed base including rangelands and pastures
  • Technology, data management and use
  • Animal welfare and best practice
  • Human capacity, social science, extension

In addition to the technical program there will be three social functions and optional field trips.

Click here for details about conference registration

Click here for program details.

Sponsors for this year’s Northern Beef Research Update conference include Zoetis, CSIRO, MLA, Northern Drought Hub, University of QLD, QLD Government, CRC for Developing Northern Australia, Elders and CQ University, Olssons and AA Co, Cibo labs, Farmbot, NTCA, Performance Feeds and Direct Injection Technologies.


The conference is coordinated by the North Australia Beef Research Council, an independent organisation made up of producer representatives, research organisations, education providers, and state farming organisations. NABRC celebrates 30 years of achievement this year.

NABRC aims to ensure innovation and learning in the northern beef industry is relevant to producers and beef industry participants, and achieves this by bringing together stakeholders in the planning of R,D&E activities for Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia.

NABRC does not fund RD&E activities. Rather, its role is to gather feedback from stakeholders from across Northern Australia to influence the RD&E agenda and ensure it addresses the priority issues facing our industry.

This is achieved through 11 Regional Beef Research Committees (RBRCs), which identify and discuss strategic industry issues. The chairs of each committee participate in NABRC meetings held bi-annually as part of NABRC’s role in developing and providing advice to organisations that invest in or undertake beef cattle RD&E.





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