Oz Lotfeeders: Back to School and Moving Forward

AUSTRALIA - Around 50 cattle producers, stock and station agents and feedlot operators went back to school in early February, to learn more about preparing feeder steers.
calendar icon 5 March 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

With demand for beef dropping in the wake of the global financial crisis, many of the participants wanted to learn how to squeeze every last cent from their production systems, reports Beef Cooperative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies.

Todd Andrews from the NSW Department of Primary Industries said the last 12 months have been extremely turbulent.

“The beef industry and feedlot sector have not been immune to the impact of fluctuating supply and demand,” he said.

“Although feed grain prices have dropped considerably allowing feedlots to increase their capacity, there is uncertainty about global beef consumption patterns in the short term.”

The 2009 Feeder Steer School in Armidale was hosted by the Beef CRC, Angus Australia and New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.

Mr Andrews said it is the perfect way for producers to learn how to get best bang for their buck.

“The Feeder Steer School is a very ‘hands-on’ experience. It gives commercial cattle breeders, steer traders and lotfeeders access to some of the beef industry’s leading experts,” he said.

“Participants at the school learnt to select and prepare cattle to maximise their growth and minimise feedlot sickness, making them more attractive to feedlot buyers.”

Not only did the participants learn how to assess a steer’s potential for feedlot performance but also its suitability for different markets.

“We also had speakers explaining how to use breeds, BREEDPLAN and gene marker technology to ensure on-going genetic improvement,” Mr Andrews said.

Other exciting innovations in this year’s program included demonstrations of steer growth and fatness predictors as well as the utilization of carcass feedback to fine tune production systems.

Mr Andrews said a presentation by the president of the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association, Jim Cudmore was another highlight.

“Jim is at the pointy end of the lot feeding industry. While he acknowledges the downturn in demand, he believes it is on a transitory situation,” said Mr Andrews.

“He is confident the industry will return to steady growth during 2009 as the advantages that lotfeeding brings to the Australian beef industry are too strong to be ignored.”

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