Raising the steaks

MLA'S high steaks campaign

MEAT and Livestock Australia has launched its crucial summer beef campaign with a bold bid to reclaim the Aussie barbecue for steak ahead of other competing proteins such as chicken or seafood.

The campaign, which fronts Australian comedian and radio host Merrick Watts, aims to have Australians throwing more beef on the barbecue this summer and banding together to let the world know that we love to throw beef steaks - not shrimps - on the 'barbie'.

"In a recent survey conducted by Galaxy Research, 77 per cent considered steak to be the traditional Australian barbecue offering, rather than prawns at just 9pc. In less than 24 hours the ad had more than half a million views on YouTube, only slightly more than the first edition of Choice Cuts last week.

Beef weathers price rise

STEAKS might be jostling for space on our barbecue plates, but in the protein battle for the hearts and minds of the nation's shoppers, seafood is currently setting the pace. According to data released by Nielsen Homescan last week, Seafood experienced the strongest growth at 0.41 percentage points (pp) compared to the same period last year and despite an increase in its price (+$0.90). Beef share remained relatively stable (-0.08pp), even though its price increased slightly (+$0.12). Chicken prices were reasonably steady (-$0.02), its share has experienced a drop (-0.50pp) in comparison to the same quarter in 2011.

Wellard on the front foot

ABC Television claimed its expose of the Pakistan sheep cull was the story "the live export industry didn't want told", yet 24 hours before its 'Another Bloody Business' was screened on Monday night, live exporter Wellard Rural Exports was doing just that.

Showing the community the industry has learnt from last year's bruising experience through the live export ban to Indonesia, the company was on the front foot on Monday issuing its own statement and YouTube video featuring managing director Stephen Meerwald to present its side of the story and promote the strides the live export business has taken to improve animal welfare.

It is available online here - and carries a warning that some of the images are very graphic.

Breaking down resistance

ADELAIDE scientists will lead a national research effort to hunt for so-called 'superbugs' in Australian livestock.

The University of Adelaide's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences has received $110,000 in funding from Pfizer Animal Health Australia to conduct a pilot study, which is the first of its kind for the nation. Head researcher Dr Darren Trott says he expects the study will find a low incidence of resistance to antibiotics, which spells good news for our exporters marketing beef overseas.

"If we identify any hot pockets of emerging resistance, mitigation strategies can be implemented quickly," he says.

A team of researchers from the same university is also on the hunt to squash emerging annual ryegrass resistance to the popular herbicide, paraquat that's posing a big challenge for pasture seed producers. Associate Professor Christopher Preston says the presence of paraquat resistance in annual ryegrass - the major weed dealt with by farmers in southern Australia - would threaten the viability of weed management systems in the pasture seed industry.

Weeds cost Australian agriculture more than $4 billion dollars each year, including control costs and lost production.

Red meat on show

THE beef industry was up in lights at the NAB Agribusiness Awards last week. Queensland family owned processor Nolan Meats won the export award while NSW stud Angus producers Bryan and Lucinda Corrigan, Rennylea stud, were named primary producer of the year. The award for Nolan Meats is the latest in a string of recent accolades, but Rennylea's recognition comes after their entry into the competition was taken on a whim. Lucinda says they analysed their business last year to coincide with their 25th anniversary, the summary of which formed Rennylea's submission to the NAB judging panel. Lucinda says it's been a big year for Rennylea, with the stud opening up new international doors, especially in South America where demand for black cattle is booming. A director of MLA midway through her term, Lucinda will also be in Fremantle next week for the organisation's AGM.

Record exports

AUSTRALIAN red meat exports hit record levels during October, with the largest monthly lamb and goat totals ever recorded, while beef set a new October high. Lamb exports for the month were up 36pc, while beef shipments totalled 94,147 tonnes, up 12pc on the corresponding period in 2011.

While the record sales of Australian beef and lamb into overseas markets should be viewed as welcome news, it is important to note that it has largely been driven by increased supplies and cheaper product - not due to surging demand and higher prices in overseas markets. Along with being the highest ever October total, Australian beef exports for the past month were the third highest on record, falling only 546 tonnes short of the all-time record set in November 2006.

Hurricane Sandy

ASSESSMENTS are still continuing in the US to audit the damage that might create disruption to the beef trade in the wake of the massive storm system which lashed the US East Coast early last week.

Much of the economic damage so far has been reported around the New York and New Jersey areas. US beef importers say they unable to assess the full impact of the hurricane on business, although as expected trading volumes are reportedly light. Port Philadelphia, the largest port of entry for imported beef, was opened for business one day after the hurricane hit, with damage to facilities reportedly not significant. So far there has been no report of any damage to processors or cold storage facilities.

Chinese beef imports

DISCUSSIONS about Australia's increased engagement with Asia couldn't be timed better with news this week of record high Australian beef exports to China during September. Chinese beef imports for the month surged a staggering 201pc compared to this time last year, totalling 5275 tonnes according to Global Trade Atlas.

Dry times

YOUR thirsty paddocks aren't telling you a lie, rainfall from August to October was below average for most of Australia, with only parts of northern Australia receiving above average rainfall. In contrast, the southern half of Australia received below average falls in the period, with parts of South Australia and Western Australia recording the lowest falls on record.

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    COMMENTS

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    I don't know that that's all so. People generally do best if far from home...thus Aussie
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    My grand-daughter, very confident and presentable, now 22 began work in Nth Shore Sydney as
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    whilst much input is noted here I think Mouse was close to the point. . Of the several methods