The Australian cattle herd is around 26m head, which is around 2% of the global herd, but Australia is the third largest exporter of beef, exporting more than 70% of total production – the vast majority as chilled product.
Why is beef a good product?
Beef is one of the most nutritious foods available containing vitamins A, B3, B6, B12 and E; essential minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium and antioxidants. Grass fed beef also contains Omega 3 and CLA fatty acids. Essential amino acids cannot be manufactured by our own bodies and need to acquired through food, the best source for these is meat, particularly red meat such as beef.
Although red meat has been derided in the past for poor health outcomes, studies have shown that these outcomes are more caused by processing, or cooking at excessive temperatures rather than from fresh meat.
Australian beef is highly sought after, with comparatively low fat content compared with other nations. Annual Australian consumption of beef is 26kg per person. Although this is falling, it is still the highest share of fresh meat sales by value, at 35%.
Beef is a small but material component of the company’s south eastern and Victorian operations, accounting for around 20% of the total weighted livestock numbers. A small herd is also present on North Well.
McBride cattle are grass fed for the majority of the year and are free from added hormones. A cattle herd is complementary to the company’s core wool flock, both from a labour and biosecurity point of view. The Company also operates a trade cattle enterprise to utilise excess feed during the spring flush.
The company runs a mixture of Angus and Shorthorn breeds and we breed our own bulls to maintain genetic integrity. The purpose for running two breeds allows for cross breeding, which contributes ‘hybrid vigour’. Hybrid vigour improves the feed-conversion of offspring so more meat is produced from less feed. This allows for improved farm performance, but also better environmental outcomes.