Paul presented to a group of young leaders from the Northern Queensland Beef Industry

As always our presentations are designed to provide maximum value for thos attending rather than just being information slides. The key points were:

  • It is important to ensure that you have more than one picture in your head when thinking about what the future might look like and what your strategic options might be.
  • Then should should monitor key signals that can tell you which of thos pictures might be emerging in the real world so you can make strategic decisions at the right time.
  • There are a number of social pressures on eating beef, especially in developed countries. These include environmental pressures flowing from greenhouse gas emissions, land use pressures flowing from the relative inefficiency of beef feedlot operations when compared to poultry and pork production, human health considerations, and concerns around animal welfare.
  • At the same time there is increasing capacity for people to reduce their meat consumption with very little pain when making the change. This includes developments such as the Impossible Burger, and the general increase in the quality of vegetarian options.
  • Thes factors are likely to put pressure on the consumption of beef in developed economies in particular but rangeland beef is well placed in such a situation as stated in the most recent IPPCC report on land use:

It is important to highlight the opportunities for improving the feed-to-meat conversion considered as a form of food loss. However, the unique capacity of ruminants to produce high-quality food from low-quality forage, in particular from landscapes that cannot be cropped and from cellulosic biomass that humans cannot digest could be seen as an effective way to improve the feed:meat ratio.

Along with these changes there will be increasing capacity for farmers to use technology to manage their operations and supply information to the market through wider use of sensor technology and artitifical intelligence (machine learning).

Farmers need to be wary about adopting new technologies as the recent massive influx of venture capital into agtech brings risks as well as benefits. There will be many more available technologies but at the same time the failure rates of technologies and companies is likely to be higher because of the nature of the investments and the timing of deployment into the industry.