Experiencing Beef Australia 2018 was definitely a thrill and trip of a lifetime. As part of the Canadian Western Agribition’s trade mission the group was made up of purebred breeders Lee Stilborn, CoraLee Fisk, Shari Leachman, Frances Leachman, and Donna Asher along with Chris Lane, CEO of Canadian Western Agribition, Agribition president Bruce Holmquist, and Michael Latimer, executive director of Canadian Beef Breeds Council. The goal of the trade mission was to strengthen ties between Canadian Western Agribition and Beef Australia. This is the second time Agribition has sent a trade delegation down to Beef Australia or Beef Week, as the locals call it.
Denis Cox, CEO of Beef Australia, says it is Australia’s largest beef expo and happens every three years in the country’s beef capital, Rockhampton, Queensland. It began in 1988 as a one-time event but when the decision was made to carry it on, everybody agreed Beef Australia should be held every three years to keep it special.
The 2018 show had over 500 exhibitors, 90,000 attendees and 1,500 cattle representing 32 breeds in the Landmark Stud Cattle competition. Another 2,000 commercial cattle compete in the Ruralco Australian Beef Cattle Championships at the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange in nearby Gracemere.
This year the ANZ carcass competition proved popular with over 1,100 producers submitting carcasses, up from 500 to 600 in 2015. One judge flies across Australia to judge the hanging beef at this event.
Many of the breeds have Bos Indicus or Brahman influence, a requirement in many areas where temperatures can go over 45 C at times during the year. Their loose skin and ears help keep the cattle cool and tick resistant. Some of the Bos Indicus breeds present at Beef Australia were Brahman, Santa Gertrudis, Droughtmaster, Simbrah, Braford, Charbray, Brangus and Senepol. Other beef breeds not common in Canada but present here were Square Meaters (Charolais x Murray Grey), Bazadaise (French Origins), Romagnola, Australian Lowline, Dexter.
Canadian genetics in Angus, Simmental, Charolais and Speckle Park breeds were present in the barns with many questions about Agribition and new genetics available. Most judges in their comments really emphasized feet and legs as cattle were covering huge distances. Many cattle stations cover 100,000 acres, if not more. Judges looked not only at how the cattle profiled and walked, but also their ultrasound and performance information. This data was printed along with the show numbers on the back of the exhibitor tags.
Along with beef producers attending from across Australia and the world, education plays an important role at Beef Australia to the Australian consumer as well. According to Cox, 90 per cent of the urban population eats only 10 per cent of the beef carcass, which makes beef too expensive for most young families. Cox addressed this concern by having 11 celebrity chefs making tasty dishes from inexpensive beef cuts not normally used.
Cox and his board also decided to feature beef as the main protein in food booths on the site, encouraging attendees to try different beef dishes for the first time. I highly recommend smoked Brahman hump from the Smokin Yak booth.
Other Canadians spotted around Beef Australia were Mel Reekie, general manager of the Canadian Charolais Association, Ryley and Jill Mader and Myles Immerkar from Semex. Also Melissa McRae, Whitney Bosovich, Jim Wildeman and Rob, Dee and Stacey Young rounded out some Canadians enjoying the show.
The Canadian Angus Association held its 2018 National Convention in Comox, B.C., June 7-10 at the Crown Isle Resort. The program included presentations by blogger Bruce Vincent (brucevincentspeaking.com) speaking on sustainability and maintaining our “social license to operate” and how we must understand the public’s “emotional” response to our science in order to constructively engage the consuming public given their perceptions concerning our care and love of the things that the public cares about and loves — the environment and animals. Producers were given an opportunity to become VPB+ certified as part of their registration fee.
Optional tours included a working fish farm with supper at the Heart of the Valley Farms and a tour of tourist highlights in the area. A Sunday morning session dealt with the breed’s new online system, EPDs and Delta Genomics. A full listing of events can be found at the Canadian Angus website.
Plan to attend the Canadian Simmental Convention in Olds, Alta., August 9-12, 2018. The lineup of events begins Thursday with tours to the Olds College Meat Shop, Westway Farms and Davis Rairdan Embryo Transplant facility. The Simmental Innovations Round Table and a sale of elite Simmental cattle and genetics are the focus on Friday in the Cobra Event. Saturday is the Canadian Simmental Association’s annual general meeting and banquet, with the Friends of Canadian Simmental Foundation auction finishing the day with items selling to suit everyone’s interests. The Young Canadian Simmental Association National Show is also on throughout the four days with the conformation classes completing the events on Sunday, August 12. Deadline for the early bird registration is July 15, 2018
Canadian Angus Association (CAA) CEO Rob Smith came back from a trade mission to China in April excited about the potential for seed stock sales to that country. So much so that he is asking Angus breeders to lobby their MPs to pressure CFIA to negotiate export protocols for live cattle to China.
“Travis Olson of Ole Farms and I were speaking at a beef cattle genetics seminar arranged by AltaCorp China (Alta Genetics’ partner) to about 120 producers, investors, bankers, academics, researchers and bureaucrats in Beijing. This was the beginning of a week-long business trip that excited me more than any trade delegation I’ve been part of in my life,” Smith wrote in the association’s May e-newsletter.
“I think China wants more than semen and embryos from us. Please do your part to assist with this and, in the very short term, please also demand of your MP that they immediately pass CPTPP legislation in the House of Commons because every day that they don’t pass this legislation, other countries who have already done so are exporting to CPTPP countries at much lower tariffs than we currently pay.”
The Canadian Simmental Association’s Award of Excellence Program is back. Well over one thousand head of registered Simmental cattle enter the show ring at major livestock events in Canada each year. The CSA Award of Excellence program was established to promote and recognize the top bulls and females in the Simmental breed that are exhibited at those shows. The AOE encourages Simmental breeders to attend multiple shows and exhibit their cattle. Each year all provinces/regions are asked to select their qualifying shows no later than May 1. Bulls and females exhibited at these shows will be recognized based on a calculated points system, determined by show placings in each class. Points differ based on the size of the show and with the number of cattle that are exhibited. Extra points are given to the Grand and Reserve Division Champions and to the overall Grand and Reserve Champions. Visit the Canadian Simmental Association website for a list of the 2018 qualifying shows along with all the general rules and regulations.
In the 37 years the Charolais Banner has been compiling bull sale results, this was the top year for the breed. From the fall of 2017 to the spring of 2018 the Banner reported 96 sales, six more than 2016-17 and the largest number of animals sold. The gross was up nearly $1.35 million dollars over last year, the highest ever result. The sale average was also up from 2017 with over 3,400 bulls sold averaging $6,160. Helge By, publisher of the Charolais Banner cites an increase in the number of breeders using auction sales versus private treaty, combined with increased interest by commercial producers in Charolais bulls, to gain the premiums paid for Charcross calves, for the rising numbers. Complete results are found in the May issue of the Charolais Banner free online.