Australian Agriculture: Its History and Challenges

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Rural roads A horror morning on Victorian roads has seen two people killed and five others hospitalised after three separate crashes.

Goon Nure Tarqua, ha, is located at Goon Nure and has been run as a dairy farm since by the Blackshaw family. Loyal tribe Have a look at pictures of Andalama Organics at Dederang where Lynda and Stephen Quast run an organic dairy operation, milking Normande cows and 13 goats of mixed breeds. Milk monitor Dairy farmers can now manage biosecurity risks with the help of an online tool. Seasonal challenge Seasonal conditions are playing havoc with both hay production and curing times. Cartoon gallery Take a look at the important rural issues of through the eyes of The Weekly Times cartoonist Chris Rule.

Lifestyle property See pictures of this Victorian property once home to multiple generations of the one family for more than years, now looking for a new owner. MSA awards Learning from feedback has earned a North-West Tasmanian beef-producing family a spot among the best in eating quality. Captain calm A well thought-out plan — centred on low-stress handling of cattle — is paying dividends for Port Campbell farmer Richard Nesseler. Contracts higher Wheat future prices lifted last week and season contracts were marked higher. Shine nominee Ginny Stevens is on a mission to reduce suicide rates in the bush.

A Shepparton woman is bringing classical and modern dance into her home town and secondary students are jumping on board.

Current situation and future prospects for the Australian beef industry — A review

Mt Diogenes is better known by what two-word name? The Australian Ballet company has a strong link to country towns, which once saved it from extinction, writes Genevieve Barlow. A devotion to the breed is paying off for this organic dairy. More grunt Fendt has added more muscle to its revamped Series with the Vario.

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Rally march Parents and community members will march through Shepparton this Friday, calling for a halt to the secondary school transition plan. Mount Prospect The new owners of Ambleside will not only get some of the best potato-growing country in Victoria and the facilities to grow and pack them, but also an established brand. Motorbike safety Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Week kicks off on Monday and participating riders will be rewarded with free vehicle inspections.

Long lasting Wandin Silvan Field Days has evolved with the horticulture industry, bringing best practice and cutting-edge technology to local Yarra Valley growers. Vale Marie Australian dressage great Marie Gahan passed away last month, aged Biteline The annual run of big spawning calamari squid is underway off Queenscliff and snapper are starting to show in increasing numbers along the eastern seaboard of Port Phillip.

Personalise your weather. Sorry we couldn't find a match for that, please try again. Change my location. My Account Logout. Combined Shape. Agri HQ. This limits the ability of the industry to buffer seasonal variations in forage availability and therefore beef supply patterns. In , Australia was the eighth largest producer of beef and veal in the world, and after Brazil, was the second largest beef exporter, accounting for 2. In that year, Australia produced 2. The 0. In —, approximately 2. Of this, approximately 25, tonnes was chilled, with the remainder frozen.

The relationship between national affluence and demand for animalsource foods is well established FAO, ; Figure 2. The growing prosperity of many developing nations, coupled with regionally varying rates of population growth, is driving accelerating demand for meat in East and Southeast Asia and Latin America FAO, In Asia, much of this growth has been in poultry and pork consumption. In addition to their general focus on increasing quality and safety, Australian exporters have sought to exploit niche markets in Asia and elsewhere. A striking example has been major growth in Japanese imports of extremely marbled Wagyu beef after the introduction of this traditional Japanese breed to Australia in Nevertheless, more than one-half of Australian beef exported to Japan and Korea is grass fed, and recent growth in the north Asian fast food industries has strengthened demand for manufacturing beef MLA, The pastoral industries of Australia and New Zealand have benefited directly from trade advantages because of their relative freedom from infectious animal diseases that have either the potential to cause devastating economic loss, such as foot-and-mouth disease FMD , or the potential to pose frightening zoonotic consequences, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy BSE.

New Zealand, in particular, seeks to differentiate products, including beef, by highlighting the environmental attributes of New Zealand.

Indigenous author challenges Australians on our 'fraudulent' history

These real and perceived advantages may continue to offer trading advantages into the future. However, as discussed below, the disease-free status of the Australasian industries could be challenged at any time. In addition, the present disease-related trade advantages will be lost if competitors such as Brazil and Argentina can successfully eradicate FMD and if the global risk of BSE continues to wane.

A recent report based on scientific analysis and views of industry leaders has suggested there may be scope to more than double production from Australia's northern beef cattle herd, building on a record of productivity growth over several decades Cribb et al.


However, as noted by these authors, such development will depend heavily on increased access to reliable supplies to fresh water. This will be essential to overcome seasonal feed shortages through development of irrigated pastures and fodder cropping, possibly based on mosaic irrigation systems.

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Other significant barriers include lack of transport and processing infrastructure, especially in far north Queensland, the Northern Territory, and northern Western Australia. Opportunities for growth will depend on increased availability of dairy calves and cull cows, and possibly on innovations to improve the value of co-products and lower-value portions of the carcass.

Resource and environmental challenges facing agriculture

The introduction of grazing ruminants to Australia and New Zealand after European settlement has had a dramatic and often negative effect on the rural landscapes of both countries. The introduction of cattle and sheep was generally associated with land clearing to reduce competition between trees and pasture for water and nutrients and to allow greater stocking densities Ash and McIvor, Combined with overgrazing, this had especially negative impacts on fragile tropical rangelands and savannas, which came under increasing pressure after the introduction of B.

For example, an estimated 2. However, recent legislation e. Similar policies in New Zealand will probably reduce the land available for beef production in the future. In addition, growth in the carbon economy may drive changes in the use of marginal land from beef production to forestry. The introduction of improved, non-native pasture species has had a substantial, positive influence on Australasian beef productivity. This has been largely uncontroversial in temperate regions, where improved pastures have been productive and environmentally stable for many decades.

However, the introduction of productive pasture species in the tropics and subtropics, such as buffelgrass Cenchrus ciliaris and leucaena Leucaena leucocephala , has raised environmental concerns because of their aggressive growth habits and negative effects on native flora biodiversity Friedel et al. This has led to the establishment of buffelgrass as a pasture species being prohibited in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, notwithstanding its undoubted value for cattle feeding.

The erratic climate and poor soils of Australia contribute to periodic overgrazing, loss of pasture ground cover, and consequent soil erosion, especially in the northern regions. Assessment tools based on ground cover and other factors, such as the ABCD Land Condition guide Figure 3 , have been introduced to assist graziers in managing the land.

Of particular environmental concern is the runoff of sediments from adjacent grazing lands into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, threatening this world heritage site and tourist magnet Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Since , average temperatures in Australia have increased by 0. Such changes will affect the balance between tropical C4 and temperate C3 grasses and the seasonal growth patterns of pastures across the continent FAO, Although increased atmospheric CO 2 concentration may increase plant growth and water use efficiency, it will also decrease the nutritional quality of both tropical and temperate forages.

However, because of the extensive nature of the grazing lands in Australia, it is estimated that improved land condition caused by reduced stocking rates could sequester more than Mt CO 2 -eq. The potential carbon sequestration from increased tree cover in the grazing lands is also significant, but both options imply reduced cattle numbers in the rangelands Eady et al. Proposed legislation in Australia would reward producers with carbon credits for abatement of emissions via recognized mitigation and sequestration management practices.

Options for assessment and mitigation of these highly dispersed emission sources are discussed below. In the long term, water availability and use may be a more important environmental issue for the Australian beef industry than will its carbon footprint. These values are orders of magnitude less than some much-publicized American estimates owing to differences in the treatment of rainfall and the fact that almost all Australian cattle feed is produced in dryland systems.

A recent comprehensive review of the Australian quarantine and biosecurity systems identified numerous risks and challenges to preserving the disease-free status of the country Beale et al. Risk categories include incursion of truly exotic diseases, such as FMD; reemergence of endemic diseases, such as bovine tuberculosis; emergence of previously unknown diseases, such as BSE in Europe; and human-induced risks, either inadvertent e. Major challenges of concern are the increasing globalization of trade, including that of animal genetic material; the human spread into new habitats; increasing tourism and the movement of cargo across national boundaries; climate change; a looming shortage of appropriately trained animal health professionals; and physical constraints to quarantine barriers e.

The export and domestic markets of the Australasian beef industries also are at risk from food-borne pathogens that can enter the food chain at various points, most notably Salmonella spp. The increased scale, intensification, and complexity of both on-farm operations and the postfarm processing and distribution chain have contributed to the increased risk of food-borne disease despite the introduction of control systems such as the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points System and major advances in pathogen diagnosis and traceability. Interestingly, recent evidence suggests that the relatively low incidence of E.

Limited availability of land suitable for beef production in Australia and New Zealand means that improvement of the feed base, especially in northern Australia, and the efficiency of animal production systems will be essential to future increases in industry productivity see below. The availability and cost of input resources, such as nonrenewable energy sources and fertilizer, also will increasingly challenge the Australasian industries.

For example, predictions that global supplies of accessible rock phosphate will peak in the foreseeable future Figure 4 are of concern because of the widespread, often severe phosphorus deficiency of most soils in Australia and New Zealand. This is driving research and development into new technologies for recycling phosphorus from human and livestock wastewater, and for increasing the efficiency of phosphorus utilization through plant breeding, precision agricultural practices to optimize fertilizer application, and the use of microbial inoculants to enhance the availability of soil phosphorus Cordell et al.

The latter approaches to increasing efficiency will be less applicable to the extensive pastoral industries, where an affordable supply of phosphate fertilizer combined with direct supplementation of cattle with phosphorus will continue to be necessary. Peak phosphorus Hubbert curve, indicating that production will eventually reach a maximum, after which it will decline source: Cordell et al. The power of public reaction to animal welfare issues was dramatically demonstrated by the recent Australian government suspension of live cattle export from Australia to Indonesia, triggered by a public affairs television program showing distressing images of cruel and inept slaughter practices in some Indonesian abattoirs.

Industry awareness of changing public attitudes is driving research into more humane alternatives to a number of traditional husbandry practices. For example, the development of gene markers to identify bulls likely to sire horned offspring should significantly reduce reliance on physical dehorning, especially of older B. Nonsurgical approaches such as immunocastration are being investigated as alternatives to the surgical castration of young bulls and flank spaying of heifers.