Red meat industry up to the challenge

AUSTRALIA - Meat & Livestock Australia Chairman Don Heatley today acknowledged the arrival of a number of challenges that have long been forecast for the red meat industry.
calendar icon 22 November 2006
clock icon 3 minute read
In his Chairman’s address at the MLA Annual General Meeting in Adelaide Mr Heatley applauded livestock producers for their foresight and hard work in preparing the Australian industry to meet these challenges.

Mr Heatley said that in the face of prolonged drought, more demanding consumers and increasing competition from other red meat exporting countries it was vital the industry remained positive about the future.

“Our industry is in a strong and fortunate position with domestic and global demand for beef, lamb and goat still very strong,” Mr Heatley said.

Mr Heatley also made a call for the industry to remain focussed amid the challenges and stressed that there was an enormous amount to be positive about.

“We owe it to ourselves and everyone involved in our industry to speak proudly about the position we are in,” Mr Heatley said.

“The industry is in good shape, we should be proud of it, and I am confident that we can keep ahead of our rivals and can successfully respond to the challenges the industry faces.”

In his address at the AGM, MLA Managing Director David Palmer outlined the main highlights for the industry and MLA over the past 12 months including the continued growth in expenditure on red meat and livestock.

“Domestic expenditure on beef grew by a further 6.5 percent to $6.4 billion while lamb rose a further 4.5 percent to $1.78 billion,” Mr Palmer said.

“These are impressive results achieved through a number of industry programs including the ‘foundation food’ campaign which featured actor Sam Neill.

“Recognising the importance of growing community expectations in the areas of animal welfare and environmental sustainability, MLA partnered with RSPCA and a range of industry bodies across all sectors to produce and distribute over 90,000 copies of the ‘Fit to Load’ guide for best practice in animal transport.”

Mr Palmer said MLA had developed a number of practical tools and extension materials to help livestock producers boost on-farm productivity and profitability.

“One great example is the Rainfall and Pasture Growth Outlook Tool, which is an online resource that enables producers to assess rainfall patterns, climatic conditions and potential pasture growth for the coming season,” Mr Palmer said.

“During the year over 18,000 producers attended MLA Prime Time, EDGEnetwork, Grain and Graze and More Beef from Pastures field days, seminars and workshops.”

MLA also launched Frontier magazine which showcases on-farm applications of R&D outcomes for northern production systems.

Mr Palmer also detailed the financial performance of MLA during 2005-06 in his address, of which the key points included:

- An increase in revenue of $14.4 million in 2005-06 to a total of $156.6 million.
- Producer levy income of $82 million – up $10 million on the year before due to the beef levy increase and increased cattle transactions.
- 45 percent of MLA’s income was non levy income. Total non levy income was $70.3 million, with $40.3 million coming from the Federal Government.
- Expenditure in 2006-06 totalled $158.6 million, an increase of $19 million on the year before.

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