It has been another busy year at Herefords Australia. 2022 saw the company (almost) return to business as usual and encouragingly, we were able to progress a range of activities outlined in the Herefords Australia Strategic Plan.
Looking first at member services, the company transitioned to a single monthly invoice in March, reducing the number of individual invoices that members need to sort through and pay. In May, the company was successful in negotiating a pause in DNA price increases. Investments in youth and capacity building continued and June saw 18-year-old Emily Taylor from Eclipse Poll Herefords awarded the Hocking Scholarship (no mean feat in a year that saw a near record number of applications).
After two years of cancellations, July saw the National Youth Committee deliver a successful Youth Expo. Special congratulations to Georgia Wragge, winner of the Herefords Australia Youth President’s Award; William van Geld, winner of the Jason Sutherland Award; and Brittany Abbott and Janet Cantwell, winners of a National Youth Travel Scholarship. Under the guidance of President Alicia Trovatello, Treasurer Harry Scoble and Coordinator, Nikki Martin, the National Youth committee is now busy planning for the 2023 Expo in Parkes, NSW (7-10 July).
2022 saw increased participant numbers across the flagship multi-vendor shows and sales. Grand Champions this year included Mawarra Ultra Star R182 (Wodonga), The Ranch Remington R028 (Dubbo) and Willgoose Detour R052 (Glen Innes), with Mawarra Ultra Star and The Ranch Remington topping their sales and setting new records ($130,000 and $120,000 respectively).
On business development, in April, the company entered a five-year partnership with the Inter Collegiate Meat Judging Association (ICMJ). The partnership is an opportunity to engage with the next generation of professionals in the beef industry, including students from Australian universities and agriculture colleges as well as international students from some of the nation’s largest trading partners in the red meat sector.
On research and development (R&D), genetic progress and evaluation has been an area of focus throughout 2022. This has included reviewing the rate of genetic gain over the last five years and understanding the implications for future data collection projects. We also investigated the impact genomics has on estimated breeding values (EBVs).
In other R&D work, data collection from co-operator herds continued this year, making a key contribution to the reference population for hard to measure carcase traits.
Collaboration is central to the achievement of our strategic plan goals and this year saw staff, committee and Board members meet with researchers from the Southern Multi-Breed project (July), participate in BREEDPLAN Advisory Council meetings (March & December), and meet with senior executives from the American Hereford Association (October).
On marketing and promotion, the company has continued to invest in developing content and is continuing to grow share of voice (presence) in print publications and online. This year has seen stories developed by Herefords Australia broadcast by media outlets including ‘Herefords lead the way on Grass’, ‘Enhancing your Genetic Investment’, ‘New CEO and Board Appointment for Herefords Australia’ plus our Super Sire announcements and show and sales reports. The number of visitors to the Herefords Australia website is on the increase, with animal inquiry and sales listings the most popular destinations. Listings are complimentary for all Herefords Australia members so please send us through details of your upcoming open day, sale, or event.
Looking at sales, 2022 saw 2823 bulls offered (+11.3% compared to 2021), 2487 sold (88.1% clearance), and prices averaging $12,368 (compared to $9,607 in 2021). This 28.7% increase in average sale price was the highest of all major breeds reported. The trends are very positive and bode well for a strong start to autumn sales.
I would like to close off this report with a heartfelt thank you to the board and staff of Herefords Australia.
To the board, thank you for your passion for the breed, your ambition for the company, and your support of me and the team. Staff shortages and illness affected all sectors this year and Herefords Australia was no exception. The staff members at Herefords Australia, be they longstanding employees or recent starters, have demonstrated resilience, agility, and professionalism in spades. So to the team, I simply want to say thank you for everything you do. You are an absolute pleasure to work with.
I wish all readers a happy Christmas. To those members and staff in NSW and Victoria who have been affected by recent flood events, I wish you all the best with your recovery and rebuilding efforts. May 2023 be prosperous for all.