After 3 weeks of collating carcase data, we now have close to 7,500 records thanks to the voluntary contributions of members of their MSA data. The information highlights what we can deliver as a breed with the MSA index averaging around 60, the top MSA index 69.1, top MSA marbling 870 (AUS-MEAT 6). The data allows us to benchmark the performance of Hereford cattle with our current average for MSA index placing us in the top 40% and the top performing carcase in the top 1% nationally. The biggest drivers of the MSA index for Hereford cattle are high carcase weight at young age (low ossification) and high marbling. These traits are additive in the MSA model. This data demonstrates how Hereford cattle are achieving market and brand specifications delivering a great outcome for our customers. This will be an ongoing initiative as we build the data and evidence to support what we are delivering commercially.
There are a number of major events coming up where I look forward to meeting with our membership over the coming weeks. I’ll be at Sydney Show this week where I am judging the steers and I will also be in attendance for the Hereford judging on the 8th of April. Wodonga National Show & Sale is just around the corner, and we will also hold the Herefords Australia AGM on the 9th of May (a formal notice of meeting will be sent out shortly). These are great opportunities to connect, and I look forward to seeing those members who attend these events.
The cattle market remains tough in 2023 due to a range of factors including a global credit squeeze, rising costs along the supply chain, labour issues in processing plants, seasonal conditions leading to larger volume of supply on the market, uncertainty around the seasons ahead and future market conditions. However, we have also seen positive progress on the AU-UK FTA. When this deal comes into force, it will be a 35,000 tonne beef market on day 1 (up from current access of 3,400 tonnes) and grows to 110,000 tonnes in 10 years before becoming fully liberalised – no quota, no duties. The Australian dollar is behaving itself against the US dollar and we are seeing seasonal conditions in the US improve where their herd numbers have been decimated by drought. In turn, this will lead to an increase in demand from the US and potentially other markets they supply as they rebuild and their domestic supply tightens. I acknowledge that current market conditions are tough but I encourage a positive outlook as the fundamentals of the industry are strong and we have so much upside potential for the breed and the beef industry. (As information comes to hand on the UK deal coming into force, I will provide further information to the membership)