The 72-page Annual Update was launched at a sold-out seminar at Beef Australia on Thursday, 10 May.
It reports on how the beef industry is progressing on indicators set out in the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework (the Framework), which was developed through extensive consultation with industry and external stakeholders over 2016-17. Highlights include the beef industry:
- Establishing $35 million in research partnerships in animal welfare,
- Launching a proactive antibiotic monitoring program in Australian feedlots,
- Having research pathways in place to Australia towards a carbon-neutral beef industry by 2030, and
- Putting in place an action plan for environmental stewardship, particularly tree and grass cover.
Bryce Camm, who chairs the project’s Steering Group, said one of the project’s top achievements in the past year was appointing an expert third-party panel of eminent scientists to help industry define and report on the balance of grass and tree cover.
“We’ve appointed a team of world-leading remote sensing experts, biologists and conservationists to our expert panel because there is no agreement on what is or how to accurately measure the tree growth and tree/pasture changes in vegetation managed by the Australian cattle industry – and, indeed, the related expectations of our customers,” he said.
“We have agreement from industry, retailers, banks and environment groups to review the advice of key technical experts in order to develop a longer-term solution to managing vegetation for the mutual benefit of industry productivity and environmental outcomes.”
Mr Camm said launching the Annual Update a week after the Queensland Parliament passed contentious native vegetation laws highlighted the necessity for the beef industry to work together, and the value of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework’s collaborative and evidence-based approach.
The balance of grass and tree cover is one of six key priority areas for industry action, selected through consultation with external stakeholders. The other key priority areas of the Framework are animal husbandry techniques, profitability across value chain, antimicrobial stewardship, managing climate change risk and the health and safety of people in the industry.
The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework is an initiative of the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) in partnership with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).