Report Synopsis

Intensive Beef Operations in a Tropical Environment

Stewart Borg

With an Australian cattle herd of 24.7 million head, (Meat and Livestock Australia, 2020) Australia is one of the leading red meat exporters of the world. The industry can not only expand on the volume of red meat produced but also ensure that what is produced is of the highest possible standard.

The purpose of this report is to highlight the areas of adaption required to take the already highly successful Australian feedlot industry out of its traditional areas and into areas further north. Heat, humidity and rain are all issues within the feedlot sector but can be overcome with good prior planning and solid investment.

The information within this report has been compiled from talking to experts from countries across the globe, who willingly shared their knowledge and experiences towards an end goal of a better industry. The research gathered is combined with the author’s own experiences as a property owner and aspiring feedlot owner, as the business constructs one of the first feedlots in a tropical environment in northern Queensland.

The emerging tropical Australian feedlot industry will not take place overnight but will take decades to reach maturity and show how much potential it has. At present, the northern breeder operations of Australia are reliant on either sending feeder cattle to southern feedlots or the live export trade of south-east Asia. The author is supportive of the live export industry but believes that alternatives should be in place in the event of another live export collapse, as seen in 2011.

The northern feedlot industry is only one part of developing northern Australia and will also require other industries to expand with it. From large-scale water schemes, cotton and cropping, logistics and handling facilities, these developments will ensure processing and supporting businesses will follow. This will stimulate the economy and see agriculture in northern Australia boom and return on money invested by the Australian government return in the form of tax dollars many times over.

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