Pastoralists brave the rain for successful Alice Springs forum

Region: Central Australia | Topic: Livestock
Feb 2022 | Lakota Taber, Pastoral Technical Officer

Cattle in yard

Droughtmaster cattle in the yards at AZRI.

The Alice Springs BeefUp Forum was held at the Alice Springs Desert Park in November last year. Pastoralists, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) representatives, Department of Industry Tourism and Trade staff, and industry stakeholders came together to share knowledge about water quality, technology and weaner management, as well as brainstorming regional research priorities.

Alice Springs Pastoral Industry Advisory Committee (ASPIAC) Chair, Nicole Hayes, opened the event. Nicole gave an update of currently membership and an overview of the roles of ASPIAC. She acknowledged that the heavy rain meant some weren’t able to make the event.

“But what better way to spend your time at home than watching the grass grow.”

In fact, there was plenty of rain to make the grass grow. Alice Springs received a record-breaking 218mm in November with half of that falling the day before the BeefUp event.

MLA’s Managing Director, Jason Strong, started the day with a fascinating update on beef industry issues. His can-do, ‘glass half-full’ attitude communicated his assessment of a very positive outlook for the industry.

“Two drought years, 2018 and 2019, gave us the best evidence of how much things have fundamentally and materially changed to what they were 20 years ago. The commodity prices were at or above 5‑year averages, even though we had the highest number of stock turned off in the history of producing cattle in Australia,” he said.

More than half the 42 attendees were pastoralists. The feedback was very positive and, according to survey results, the most popular presentations were:

  1. MLA welcome and update - Jason Strong, Managing Director of MLA
  2. How do we manage the next decade of disruption - Shannon Speight, Cofounder of Blackbox
  3. Ceres Tag: Direct to satellite data platform and smart ear tag - Lewis Frost, Chief Operating Officer at Ceres Tag and Sarah Cook, Central Australian Pastoralist
  4. Weaner Nutrition - Désirée Jackson, business owner at Desiree Jackson Livestock Management
  5. Best management practices for northern beef herds - Geoff Niethe, Director at Niethe Consultancies and Angus McKay, Central Australian Pastoralist.

A huge thank you to everyone who was involved in putting on the event, especially those who braved COVID-19 related travel complications. We look forward to seeing you again at the next event.

Read more about the ASPIAC 100th meeting celebrations.

Back to NT Rural Review - February 2022