Q. What is OBE?
OBE is a company which supplies organic beef products to Australia and the rest of the world.
Q. Where do you sell your beef?
Australia, the Middle East, the USA, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia
Q. What does organic beef mean?
OBE producers never use antibiotics, synthetic hormones or pesticides in production. The cattle graze on certified organic pasture. This pasture grows on land which has not been treated with fertilizers or pesticides for a minimum of three years. Organic animals to not receive feed from genetically modified sources.
Q. What is the difference between ‘organic’, ‘natural’ and ‘grass-fed’ beef?
It is a common misconception that “natural” or “grass-fed” meat is the same thing as “organic” meat. This is not the case. Significant differences exist between the three. Our certified organic farms are required to follow strict standards from the Australian Government & USDA’s National Organic Standards and are regularly inspected by independent third party agencies for compliance. The organic certification process is the guarantee to consumers these rules are being followed. OBE’s grass-fed beef is first and foremost organic grass-fed beef. All of OBE’s beef is grass-fed.
Q. Are your cattle grass fed and grass finished?
OBE livestock graze on the natural pastures of the Channel Country. They are not given any supplementary grains. They are grass finished.
Q. What is the difference between grass fed and grain fed livestock?
Grass fed animals are allowed to roam freely and chose their own diet from the surrounding pasture. Grain fed animals are generally restricted to a feedlot situation and given a diet which is high in grain.
Q. What is the difference between grass fed and grain fed beef?
Meat from grass fed animals is lower in total fat. Meat from grass-fed animals has more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals
Q. Are hormones used in OBE Beef?
Q. Are antibiotics given to OBE livestock?
Q. Are feeds and pastures grown with chemical pesticides and fertilisers?
Q. Are your animals confined?
No – they are allowed to roam freely. Our stocking rate is around about 1 head per square kilometre.
Q. Does your feed contain genetically modified organisms?
No, never – All genetically modified organisms are prohibited.
Q. What makes OBE Organic Beef that much better?
The amazing flavour in every cut of our premium organic beef is something that has to be tasted to be believed. OBE Beef cattle are bred and fattened in the remote inland area of Australia known as the Channel Country. Enjoy with us, the flavour and ‘Taste of the Australian Outback’.
- Certified 100% Organic
- Free of chemicals and growth promotants
- Healthy and Nutritious
- Old world taste combined with modern food safety.
Q. What are the health benefits of eating OBE’s organic beef?
- Eating organic beef is an excellent way of minimizing one’s risk of exposure to pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics, as well as the harmful bacteria that are more likely to be found in meat produced in confined animal feeding operations.
- Beef is an excellent source of protein and a good source of iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins. People who eat beef regularly are more likely to meet 100% of the RDA for protein, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. (USDA CSFII 1994-96).
- The greater the percentage of cattle’s diet that comes from grass, the more optimal the ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids in the beef. Organic grass-fed beef generally has a ratio of 2:1, in contrast to primarily grain-fed beef, which can be as high as 20:1.
For more information on the benefits of eating organic beef, follow the links at www.eatwild.com
Q. Why should I start eating your beef?
Red meat provides an important source of nutrients in our diets. Lean red meat is naturally nutrient rich and provides lots of essential nutrients required for optimum health.
Lean red meat is one of the richest sources of haem iron in the Australian diet contributing 52% of our total intake. Iron in red meat is well absorbed compared to non haem iron in plant foods. Iron is important for the transport of oxygen, production of energy and is essential for brain development.
Lean red meat is a good source of zinc, an essential nutrient for the immune system, growth and wound healing. The zinc in red meat and other animal foods is better absorbed than from most plant foods. Because of this the requirements for zinc is 50%higher for individuals who are strict vegetarians.
Red meat is a significant source of high-quality protein, providing all the essential amino acids. Just 100g of raw red meat contains around 20-25g of protein. The protein in beef and lamb is highly digestible – around 94% compared with digestibility of 78% in beans and 86% in whole wheat.
Not a major source of fat
The most recent nutritional analyses show that when trimmed of external fat, lean red meats are relatively low in saturated and trans fats.
Lean red meat is an important source of B-group vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and in particular vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 cannot be found in plant foods, therefore inadequate intakes of B12 are a problem for strict vegetarians. Lacking vitamin B12 can adversely affect neurological function including memory and concentration.
Red meat is an important source of the antioxidant selenium which helps maintain the immune system.
Recent UK analysis has indicated that red meat may be a useful source of vitamin D which is essential for bone health.
Q. What do they eat? What do you feed your cattle?
OBE cattle graze on over two hundred and fifty species of native herbs and grasses and herbaceous plants in the Channel Country region. OBE cattle are allowed to roam freely over large areas, grazing their preferred choice of native pasture. The quantity and quality of the native pasture in the Channel Country is very important. It is influenced by the health and fertility of the soil in this area.
Q. Where is the Channel Country?
The Channel Country is located in the centre of Australia. It is a series of ancient flood plains with rivers which flow intermittently. The principal rivers are Cooper’s Creek and the Diamantina River. When there is sufficient rainfall in their catchment area these rivers flow into Lake Eyre, South Australia. In most years the flood waters are absorbed into the earth or evaporate, however, the primary land use is cattle grazing.
The Channel Country bioregion is an area of about 284,700 sq. km of land within Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and New South Wales. Approximately 70% of the bioregion lies within the arid south-west corner Queensland. The Channel Country bioregion is named after the vast network of flood and alluvial plains of the Georgina, Eyre, Cooper, Bulloo and DiamantinaRivers and Creeks. The main centres within the bioregion are Birdsville, Bedourie, Windorah, Thargomindah, Tibooburra, Innamincka and Moomba.
The bioregion has an arid climate with very dry hot summers and short dry winters. Rainfall is unpredictable in timing and quantity. The average annual rainfall ranges from 150mm to 250mm. The
Landforms and hydrology
The Channel Country bioregion lies within the Lake EyreBasin and includes the catchments of the Cooper’s Creek, Diamantina, Bulloo and GeorginaRivers. Aquifers underlying the bioregion provide ground water supplies from the GreatArtesianBasin. Mound springs within the Diamantina catchment are part of the GreatArtesianBasin system. The Diamantina catchment contains a number of major wetlands.
The Channel Country flood and alluvial plains include terminal swamps, claypans and lakes. The alluvial plains have a variety of soil types including shallow calcareous soil, sandy clay loams, clay loams and desert loams (Dawson 1984, Kerle, 1996, Mills 1980, and Turner et al 1993).
Fauna surveys in the Channel Country bioregion have reported at least 34 native mammal, 231 bird, 22 amphibian, 13 fish and 125 reptile species (Sattler & Williams, 1999). For a list of the fauna surveys and rare and threatened fauna refer to Sattler & Williams (1999) and / or http://www.biodiversity.environment.gov.au/threaten/index.htm.
Several species are endemic to the region. The grey grass wren (Amytornis barbatus) is reported in the Diamantina and Cooper plains. Reptiles endemic to the region include, the Cooper Creek tortoise (Emydura sp.), skinks (Ctenotus astarte and C. aphrodite) and an unidentified blind snake (Ramphotyphlops sp.). For more details on fauna refer to Morton, et. al., (1995).
The bioregion includes pastoral leasehold, nature reserves and vacant crown land. Within Queensland, NSW and Northern Territory the land tenure is almost entirely pastoral leasehold (Woinarski, et. al., in prep.).
Areas set aside for reserves and parks include the Innamincka Regional Reserve in South Australia, Diamantina National Park, Bladensburg National Park, and Goneaway Environmental Park, all in Queensland, and part of the Sturt National Park in New South Wales. The Innamincka area within South Australia has also been declared a State Heritage Area (Morton, et. al., 1995).
The dominant land use is cattle grazing. The floodplains are renowned for its ability to put weight on cattle after a flood. The use of the Channel Country varies from breeding and finishing production systems to growing out for feedlot entry to just finishing for the premium Japanese ox market. Gasfields have also been developed in the Innamincka- Moomba region in South Australia. Tourism is important to the region.
Q. Do you use electronic identification on your animals?
Food safety and product integrity are paramount to OBE Organic customers. OBE Organic producers participate in the National Livestock Identification Scheme, and therefore meet the requirements of our most demanding customers.
NLIS is Australia’s program for the identification and tracing of livestock. It is a permanent identification system that enables individual animals to be tracked from property of birth to slaughter. NLIS uses Radio Frequency Identification devices in the form of an ear tag or rumen bolus/ear tag combination to identify cattle. Every animal gets a unique electronic ID.
These electronic ID devices can be read as the individual animals move through the livestock chain. OBE organic producers are able to record each animal’s information on personal computers. This information is then downloaded and stored in the secure central NLIS database.
It is this centrally stored electronic history of an individual animal’s residency that enables rapid and accurate traceability.
OBE organic producers interact with the NLIS database to provide full and accurate records of their cattle. This ensures domestic and international customers confidence in the integrity of our product.
Q. Do you feed your cattle organic water?
The inland of Australia is connected by networks of channels which convey rainwater from the high rainfall areas in the north of Australia down to Lake Eyre, a vast inland lake in South Australia. In order to develop outback communities and allow livestock production to develop, our pioneers drilled bore holes deep into the earth in search of artesian water supplies. The first artesian flow in Queensland was obtained near Cunnamulla in 1187.
The GreatArtesianBasin is one of the largest artesian groundwater basins in the world. It underlies approximately one-fifth of Australia! The Basin covers a total area of 1 711 000 square kilometres and it has an estimated total water storage of 64,900 million megalitres. (A megalitre is one million litres and is equivalent to about half the eater in an Olympic swimming pool!) What quality is generally very good. Water temperatures vary from 30 degrees to over 100 degrees celcius.
It is this water which we use to drink and wash with, in our own homes. It is also this water which supplements the drinking supply of OBE organic livestock as they roam freely in the Channel Country.
Q. Are your farmers audited?
OBE Beef properties are audited annually and the logistics of such an audit deserve special mention. An inspector makes his/her way to Charleville in Western Queensland, to join a pilot and light aircraft, especially chartered for the annual audits. An aircraft is considered the most efficient method of covering a total distance of 1678 nautical miles (3110)km. Over two weeks and thirteen hours flying time, the inspector travels from property to property.
Each OBE producer participates in a desk audit before an inspection of the property itself is completed. Generally two audits are scheduled per day, with both the auditor and pilot being accommodated en-route by way of the generous hospitality of the producer’s themselves.
Generally the audits are scheduled around the cooler months of September/ October. A number of factors make this time suitable. Cattle work is coming to end, meaning producers are available to receive the inspector. School holidays are complete and families have returned home after taking their children back to boarding school. Flying is considered much smoother in cooler weather.
Rain – welcome though it is to families in the outback – can alter the audit schedule quite dramatically. As almost all landing areas are dirt airstrips, only a small amount of rain is required to close an airstrip. It can take days to dry out, and once you have landed, there is no possibility of departing until the strip dries again! Swirling dust storms can also keep a plane grounded! In 2003, the audits had to be cancelled due to widespread rain, and performed later in the year.
Audits of properties within the Channel Country are performed by OFC inspectors who recognize the extraordinary diversity in remote production regions. Natural Resource Management in these areas is closely controlled by Government Legislation. OBE producers work in harmony with legislation to ensure a sustainable future for OBE families.
Q. What sort of quality controls measures do you have in place?
More and more customers are looking for verification of the safety of the food they buy. Livestock Quality Systems help Australia maintain its reputation and competitive advantage for selling safe red meat and livestock both domestically and internationally. Livestock Quality Systems provide certification and verification systems to instill confidence in on-farm food safety practices. Two major subprograms which OBE Beef producers participate in are:
The National Vendor Declaration (NVD) is the key tool underpinning Australia’s food safety reputation for livestock. When an OBE Producer signs the NVD Waybill they declare that they meet the basic on-farm food safety requirements of the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program. OBE Producers use the NVD to declare valuable information about the food safety status of the livestock being sold. Buyers rely on the NVD for accurate information on the livestock purchased and processors rely on the information to ensure only the safest food enters the food chain. The inclusion of animal movement information means the document can be legally used for declaring stock movements in those states that require travel documents (Waybill or Traveling Stock Statement) to accompany livestock movements. Producers selling livestock in those states* that require travel documents now have to fill out only one form instead of two.
Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) LPA is an on-farm food safety certification program designed to help the Australian red meat industry strengthen the food safety systems currently in place. LPA provides a set of guidelines and a revised National Vendor Declaration (NVD) to help producers declare the food safety status of their livestock. LPA guidelines present producers with very basic animal production and record keeping requirements designed to ensure the production of safe food. Independent audits will be conducted to ensure the program’s integrity is maintained.