Heatwave Burning Hole in Beef Producer’s Pocket


In the words of country music singer Luke Bryan, to a farmer, “Rain is a good thing.” Australian feed lot operator, Jim Cudmore, couldn’t agree more. One of the gravest challenges to profitability on his beef feedlot in Queensland, Australia, is nature itself -- and right now, there’s no rain in sight. “We had about three good seasons after a seven-year drought, from 2002-2009,” he says.

Since then, there has been insignificant rainfall for over a year, and profits within the Australian beef market have fallen 20 to 25 percent. In March, BBC reported, “Crops have failed and livestock has been sold off, while many dams are bone dry. Water and feed have both been really big issues. Australia is well used to nature’s extremes, but not only is this drought so severe, it arrived so soon after the previous big drought.”

As an indication of the severity, a total of $62 million dollars has been spent on the drought assistance package from the Queensland Government to support water and freight rebates, land rent relief and the building of community resilience -- an unprecedented amount for the government throughout history (BBC). Farmers are grateful for all of the help they can get.

With 85 percent of his beef exported to 32 countries around the world, including Korea, Japan, the European Union, and Russia, challenges for Cudmore are inarguably amplified. “On a world stage, we’re becoming less competitive. It’s severely impacting our returns,” he says.

In hopes of gaining knowledge on how to increase herd numbers despite the dry conditions, while also helping to improve the general perception of feedlots among consumers in Australia, Cudmore attended Alltech’s Global 500 in Ireland in 2013.

“I’m here trying to garner a bit of experience from other people around the world,” he says. “It’s been a fantastic experience. I’ve already toured two farms, and it’s lovely to see the work that Alltech is doing in the background to improve productivity and efficiencies not only in Ireland but all around the world.”

Alltech’s 2014 Global Dairy & Beef will take place August 30 to September 2 at the Centre International de Deauville (CID) in Deauville, France. For more details on how you can attend visit www.alltech.com/global or request an invitation here.