The Northern Beef Report


What is it?

The ‘Northern Beef Report:2013 situation analysis’, recently released by Meat & Livestock Australia, is a comprehensive analysis of the performance of the Northern Beef Industry (QLD, NT & top of WA), by region, herd size and market.


What were its key findings?

The majority of Northern Beef Producers are not economically sustainable as they are not generating sufficient profits to fund current and future liabilities. The profits achieved by beef producers (on average before interest) were largely unchanged over the last 12 years, however losses after interest are decreasing due to debt increases over the last decade.


The analysis also found that there was a significant variation in the performance of beef producers, with top performing businesses across the North making reasonable returns and having businesses more likely to be economically sustainable.


A number of factors determine profits in a beef business (which are addressed in detail in the report), but the factors that consistently split the top performers from the pack were;

  • higher income through more productive herds
  • more targeted and lower herd expenditure
  • more efficient use of labour contributing to a lower overhead cost structure


What are the Recommendations?

The key recommendations for beef producers from the analysis are;

  • Improve financial skills and debt management
  • Understand profit drivers and focus on them – understand what are not profit drivers and don’t focus on them
  • Focus on increasing income by producing more kilograms of beef
  • Improve climate risk management
  • Manage expenses through improved labour efficiency, budgeting and planning
  • Match stocking rates to long-term carrying capacity


Where can I find out more?

The report and its findings will be discussed in detail in the upcoming Business EDGE workshops, being held throughout Southern & Central Queensland in July & August. The Business EDGE workshop is a comprehensive workshop developed by Meat & Livestock Australia to provide business skills for beef producers to understand and improve business performance. The workshop will be delivered by the authors of the report and addresses some of the key recommendations detailed above. More information available here


David Counsell, a co-author, will be presenting on the Northern Beef Report at the upcoming OBE Organic Innovation Forum

Join the conversation at #obeif14 or connect with David @babusiness1


The full report is available here



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