2023 has certainly been a year to remember and one to build on for 2024. A brighter market outlook awaits and hopefully everyone gets a decent season to go with it!
Looking back on the year, we have made significant progress on some key commercial aspects of our work on the supply chain. 35,000 MSA carcase records were contributed from the membership. Data was supplied from central QLD to Tasmania. This data set has enabled me to open up a range of conversations with commercial businesses who we will continue to pursue in delivering an even playing field and open up new market opportunities for Hereford breeders. It has also allowed us to benchmark the breed across the key traits that drive the MSA index and ultimately how you are paid. Weight for age measured with Hot Standard Carcase Weight (HSCW) adjusted for maturity using Ossification (oss) is a key driver. Heavier carcases at lower ossification scores has a big impact on the index. MSA Marbling is also a key trait. The more marbling the better. Interestingly, it does not take a huge increase in marbling to deliver a better MSA index outcome particularly when combined with weight for age. Please work with your commercial bull buying clients on gathering MSA data and if I can help please let me know.
The commercial performance of Hereford cattle was also backed up by outstanding achievements in carcase competitions, paddock to plate performances and in the show ring. We also took out eating quality awards. When you add these up, it is a great demonstration of what our great breed can deliver in all aspects of the supply chain.
Feedlot options when times get tough was highlighted through the year as an ongoing issue. This is something I am keen to address. You will have seen my previous messages about the industry Immune Ready program which will go some way to addressing the perceived feedlot health issues of the past that are still associated with the breed. Our credentials off grass are unparalleled however we need to ensure Hereford cattle are in demand from the feedlot sector to ensure all market options are available and cattle are valued appropriately. I believe this is solvable but we have a way to go and is a focus for 2024.
We are also approaching the mid point of our 5 year strategic plan. At the AGM we announced the development of a Sustainability Strategy which has led to a lot of positive engagement from across the membership and the industry. Sustainability will be our theme for the Herefords Australia breed forum being held on the 14th of May at Wodonga. It will bring together a range of commercial partners who we are working with and will be a fantastic opportunity to engage our membership and commercial bull buying clients to be in Wodonga for the forum and to also attend the Show & Sale on the following days. I look forward to building on the strong foundations of the Wodonga Show & Sale to create an annual event for our breed that supports great outcomes for the vendors at the sale as well as drives the reputation of our breed for the benefit of all members.
On behalf of all the staff at Herefords Australia, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!