Strong beef prices boost family farm

The family cattle farm is being boosted by the strength of high prices.
Camera IconThe family cattle farm is being boosted by the strength of high prices. Credit: Zach Relph/Countryman, Zach Relph

Australia’s booming cattle industry is reinvigorating family cattle farms across the nation, with the business model “well positioned” to play a vital part as the industry continues to grow.

The ANZ report findings were released this week at Beef Australia in Rockhampton.

ANZ director of Agribusiness Insights Michael Whitehead said the family farm model was continuing to grow in strength.

“The family farm is well positioned not just to benefit from the cattle boom, but to play a vital role in growing it,” he said.

“Not that long ago, it was felt by some that the future of farming would become mostly larger corporate operations, with the family farm diminishing in influence.

“There were fears that family farms could find it difficult to compete on scale, efficiency, or consolidation opportunities.”

Mr Whitehead said increasingly many family farms have not only risen to the challenge but pursued a range of innovations to grow in strength,

The ANZ report found a number of major factors impacting the beef industry, both domestically and globally, right along the supply chain.

“On the global beef landscape, the report models whether the big four markers for Australian beef exports — China, Japan, Korea and the US — provide a good level of market spread or whether this is too concentrated and requires increased focus on new markets,” Mr Whitehead said.

“Whether the current high cattle prices could possibly lead to consumer reaction, where the price difference between red and white meat may outpace the enjoyment difference between the two in shaping consumer behaviour.”

Regarding family farms, the ANZ report outlined how the growth of successful two generational cattle operations has allowed families to pursue new innovation in areas such as Agtech and new farm management systems to build their operations and increase efficiency levels and margins.

In the beef industry, one example is the way that this is allowing many to be in a position to restock strongly and rebuild faster in the post drought period than might otherwise have been the case.

Many farms are pursuing a range of innovations, including new offtake supply contacts.

Additionally, they are also exploring new sustainability opportunities, as well as looking at how to tap into global agriculture investment capital flows.

“The industry is in great shape, and one of the ways it will stay strong is to keep asking itself tough questions, the aggressively pursuing the best answers,” Mr Whitehead said.

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