Pasture recovery and regeneration remains a key management challenge for northern Australia’s beef producers, with the issue high on the agenda during discussions at last week’s Northern Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC) meeting in Broome.
Following the recent flooding and extreme weather events in some parts of northern Australia, the control and management of weeds was top of mind for many producers.
During two days of meetings with researchers, state farming organisations and beef producers, representatives from each of NABRC’s 11 regional beef research committees discussed issues affecting the productivity, profitability and sustainability in their region including the on-farm implications of becoming carbon neutral, legume options and staff retention.
NABRC Chair, Dr John Taylor said the meeting also included presentations on research insights into current and future markets for Australian beef and the capacity and skills required for beef R&D today.
“As part of discussions about the need for demonstrating responsible environmental stewardship, three speakers shared research insights on climate and biodiversity credentialling of beef production, urban perceptions of the beef industry and its use of natural resources, and issues influencing consumers decisions about purchasing beef,” he said.
Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) also updated the council on changes to the Producer Demonstration Site (PDS) program and its Beef Up Forums.
“Following this session, there was a call for a re-examination and better integration of the adoption activities in the north, and strategies appropriate to the northern industry,” Dr Taylor said.
Dr Taylor said the issues would be considered in NABRC’s next meeting later this year.
“Our regional beef research committees provide grassroots input to NABRC’s priority setting and have a direct impact on where the industry’s livestock levies are invested,” he said.
“NABRC’s priorities will also be used to inform the research investments of other stakeholders in the beef industry, such as state government departments and universities.”
As an independent association, NABRC breaks down barriers between research scientists and grassroots producers to focus research, development and adoption on technologies and practices that can make a practical difference to producers’ lives.
“The issues identified by our regional committees and discussed in Broome this week are of critical importance to the northern beef industry’s prosperity,” Dr Taylor said.
“Producers are continuing to express a desire for technology and tools to facilitate the measurement and stewardship of natural capital, which is also a key and growing market expectation.”
While in Broome, NABRC representatives took part in a field trip to the Broome Port where they learned about the on-boarding process of key exports including cattle, grain, other commodities and tourists.
They also visited the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) pasture trial site on the outskirts of Broome to understand the assessment process for the introduction of new and improved species into Western Australia.
A station tour at Roebuck Plains included a briefing on a re-design of the station’s cattle yard to facilitate improved data collection and a visit to Roebuck Export Depot where representatives were shown the process of aggregating cattle for the export and domestic market.