Education adds industry value

The red meat industry faced many challenges in 2019- 20 from drought, bushfires, floods and repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.

These challenges drove producers to learn more about containment feeding, property planning and pasture redevelopment, and to seek out advisory and support services. MLA adjusted to meet the ever-changing landscape of the past year from responding to the devastating bushfires to redeveloping course content and delivery platforms to accommodate online learning.

The use of these new platforms has provided new opportunities, enabling MLA to cost effectively bring international and interstate experts to producers’ homes, with the ability to be viewed on-demand. BredWell FedWell is a practical, one-day workshop highlighting the key production benefits of superior genetics, plus feed management for improved reproductive performance and livestock productivity.

Producers will be able to use the outcomes of the workshop to help analyse and plan a genetics and nutrition regime suited to their environment and markets to boost profitability. As a result of investments between 2015-20, it was determined that BredWell FedWell provided $2.48/ ewe average annual net benefit to sheep producers, with $33.8m additional profits across the sheep industry, and $2.98/cow average annual net benefit to cattle producers, with $4.98m additional profits across the cattle industry.

MeatUp forums provide an opportunity for beef, sheep and goat producers to learn something new, stay up-to-date with the latest on-farm research and technologies and meet others working in the red meat industry. Held predominantly throughout southern Australia, these forums introduce producers to the outcomes of MLA research and development projects and the next steps to drive profitability and productivity on-farm.

BeefUp forums provide a similar opportunity for northern Australian beef producers. MLA’s EDGEnetwork offers practical learning opportunities through one- to three-day workshops to help producers learn and develop skills necessary to improve their livestock enterprises.

This educational and informative format encourages producers to expand their current expertise and learn new skills, be motivated by other producers and access the latest information. As a result of investments between 2015-20, it was determined the EDGEnetwork provided $6.74/ha average annual net benefit to southern producers, with $9.7m additional value across southern region, and $0.45/ha average annual net benefit to northern producers, with $135m additional value across the northern region.

Profitable Grazing Systems (PGS) is an umbrella for a group-based delivery program that uses supported learning packages to deliver training and coaching over several months and up to a year to improve producer skills and knowledge. As a result of investments between 2015-20, it was determined the PGS program provided $17.47/ha average annual net benefit to producers involved in the program, delivering $110m in additional value to red meat producers.

MLA’s Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) program aims to increase the rate of adoption of key management practices and technologies that improve business profitability, productivity and sustainability. This is achieved through supporting livestock producers working in peer-to-peer groups to pursue new skills, knowledge and management practices applicable to their own commercial livestock production systems.

As a result of investments between 2015-20, it was determined the PDS program provided a $6.71/ha average annual net benefit to producers involved in the program, delivering $126m in additional value to red meat producers. The 2019-20 producer adoption outcomes report outlines the depth and breadth of adoption projects and programs that MLA delivered for the 2019-20 financial year and how red meat producers benefited from their involvement in them.

Some key outcomes from the 2019-20 MLA adoption program include:

•In a first-round economic assessment of the adoption projects funded between 2015-20, participating red meat producers will receive an additional $484m for their businesses by 2040.

•14,113 red meat producers and 972 livestock advisors engaged in MLA adoption projects.

•On average 90% of participating producers intend to implement change in their business as a direct result of their involvement in an MLA adoption program A total investment for the financial year of $9.52m.

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