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Northern Rivers & Rural News

CSIRO SETS BEEF BENCHMARK FOR PROTEIN PRODUCTION

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NET PROTEIN CONTRIBUTION SCORES TYPICAL AUSTRALIAN BEEF PRODUCTION SYSTEMS MAKE TO HUMAN NUTRITION.
NET PROTEIN CONTRIBUTION SCORES TYPICAL AUSTRALIAN BEEF PRODUCTION SYSTEMS MAKE TO HUMAN NUTRITION.

CSIRO SETS BEEF BENCHMARK FOR PROTEIN PRODUCTION

New research by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has for the first time quantified the contribution Australian beef makes to the protein supply for human nutrition, paving the way to better understand efficiencies across production of other proteins.

The team used the emerging ‘net protein contribution’ concept to measure the quality and quantity of protein created by cattle compared to the protein they eat, looking at both grain-fed cattle and grass-fed cattle that may eat small amounts of grain.

They found typical Australian grain-fed beef production systems contribute almost twice the human- edible protein they consume, while grass-fed systems produce almost 1600 times.

It means the beef sector now has benchmark figures for the protein it contributes to the food supply, which will help track improvements and compare efficiency to other protein production systems when they are assessed using the method.
Red meat is often criticised as having a very large footprint, taking up land that could be used to grow crops for human food, or eating grain that humans could be eating instead, otherwise known as the ‘feed versus food debate’.

However, CSIRO livestock systems scientist Dr Dean Thomas said Australian beef production is efficient at converting both low quality protein in grains that humans can eat, as well as protein in grass that humans can’t eat, into high quality protein for human nutrition.
“Cattle are efficient upcyclers of grass and other feedstuffs not just in terms of the quality of protein they create. They contribute a greater amount of protein to our food system than is used in their production as well,” Dr Thomas said.

The study, published in the journal Animal, is the first time the net protein contribution concept has been applied in Australia. It rated Australian grain-fed beef a score of 1.96 and grass-fed with a very small amount of grain a score of 1597, where a number greater than one means it has a positive contribution to meeting human nutritional requirements.

To test the assumption that grain-fed beef competes with humans for protein, the team modelled real world data in typical Australian beef production systems including methane emissions, historical climate records and commercial feedlot diets.
Dr Thomas said the rations now fed to cattle in Australian feedlots can be quite low in human-edible protein sources.
“The feedlot sector increasingly uses locally available by-products such as spent grain from bio-alcohol, feed-grade grain and cottonseed, while still meeting nutritional requirements for cattle,” Dr Thomas said.

This research was undertaken as part of CSIRO’s Future Protein Mission, which aims to improve the productivity and sustainability of new and existing Australian protein industries through science, innovation and technology.

Future Protein Mission lead Professor Michelle Colgrave said that it was critical for Australia to obtain these benchmark figures for the beef supply chain.
“Research like this could help consumers assess their options in terms of what protein foods they choose in relation to sustainability,” Professor Colgrave said.
“It also could be yet another positive selling point for Australian beef in export markets.”

Local News

NSW Alternatives to Buybacks: A Modest Step Forward

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Alternatives to Buybacks Murray

NSW Alternatives to Buybacks: A Modest Step Forward

 

As the Murray-Darling Basin grapples with the imperative of fulfilling water recovery obligations, the recent unveiling of the NSW Alternative to Buybacks Plan offers a glimmer of progress. However, the fate of Basin farmers and communities’ hinges on governments’ commitment to fulfilling their end of the bargain.

The plan, though commendable, falls short of delivering substantial water-saving projects, with only a handful identified after languishing on the table for years. These projects, including the Murrumbidgee Irrigation and Coleambally Murrumbidgee Optimisation initiative, hold promise for water recovery and ecological revitalization. Yet, their efficacy relies heavily on the Commonwealth’s willingness to redefine criteria for water recovery.

According to Claire Miller, CEO of the NSW Irrigators’ Council, while certain proposals show potential, expeditious collaboration between NSW and federal departments is imperative to ensure timely implementation. Past bureaucratic inertia raises concerns about the feasibility of realising these initiatives within the stipulated timeframe, leaving Basin communities and farmers in a state of uncertainty regarding the Plan’s efficacy.

The prevailing narrative, characterised by finger-pointing between state and federal entities, exacerbates frustrations among stakeholders grappling with the prospect of buybacks overshadowing alternative solutions. The federal Water Minister’s apparent inclination towards prioritising buybacks further compounds anxieties, casting doubt on the Plan’s capacity to minimise such measures.

Alternatives to Buybacks Murray

Murray Darling Basin

Moreover, the NSW Plan underscores the practical challenges of achieving additional water recovery, even when disregarding socioeconomic considerations. With previous initiatives having exhausted readily available water-saving avenues, the efficacy of further buybacks remains dubious, as evidenced by shortfalls in existing programs like Bridging the Gap.

Most significantly, the imperative for additional water recovery is called into question by existing data revealing substantial reductions in diversions for various sectors. With only 28% of Basin inflows directed towards towns, industry, and irrigation, the focus must shift towards addressing underlying causes of river degradation, such as invasive species and poor policy frameworks.

In light of these realities, the allocation of billions of taxpayer dollars towards further water recovery raises pertinent questions about governmental priorities. Redirecting resources towards addressing systemic issues undermining river health may prove more efficacious in fostering sustainable ecological restoration.

In essence, while the NSW Alternative to Buybacks Plan represents a step towards addressing water recovery challenges, its efficacy hinges on collaborative action and a recalibration of governmental priorities towards holistic river management strategies. Only through concerted efforts to address underlying drivers of degradation can the Basin realise its full ecological potential and safeguard the livelihoods of its communities.

 

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Australia’s Dairy Excellence: Winners of the 2024 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show Announced

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Winners of the 2024 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show

Australia’s Dairy Excellence: Winners of the 2024 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show Announced

 

Australia’s dairy industry reached new heights of recognition as the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) unveiled the champions of its esteemed Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show. Held at a captivating cocktail function within the Sydney Showground, the event showcased the finest dairy products from across the country.

With over 530 entries vying for top honours, the competition brought together renowned industry judges to evaluate an impressive array of submissions. Remarkably, 89% of the exhibits received either a bronze, silver, or gold medal, underscoring the exceptional quality of Australia’s dairy offerings.

Among the standout winners was Bega’s Rindless Vintage Cheese, which claimed multiple accolades including Champion Cheese and Champion Cheddar Cheese, earning a coveted spot on the Australian Cheeseboard. In the milk category, Lactalis Australia’s Pauls Farmhouse Gold emerged victorious, while Gelateria Gondola’s Nocciola Piemonte and Cow and Moon’s Madagascan Vanilla Bean stole the spotlight in the ice cream and gelato divisions.

Chair of Judges, Tiffany Beer, commended the outstanding calibre of entries in this year’s competition, attributing the success to the industry’s commitment to excellence and continuous improvement in production techniques. Particularly noteworthy was the substantial increase in entries for the Research and Development class, reflecting the industry’s innovation and dedication to delivering cutting-edge products.

Beer also highlighted the impressive performance of non-bovine products, with Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese’s Riverine Blue receiving acclaim as the champion non-bovine product, showcasing Australia’s capacity to produce world-class dairy alternatives.

Representing a true national effort, entries from across all Australian states contributed to the show’s success, with New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania demonstrating exceptional medal strike rates. The winners were commended for their contributions to advancing the Australian dairy industry and encouraged to continue their pursuit of excellence.

In a testament to the industry’s generosity, all remaining samples from the show were donated to the Addi Road Food Pantry in Marrickville, underscoring the commitment to giving back to the local community.

The winners of the 2024 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show exemplify the pinnacle of dairy excellence in Australia, setting the standard for quality and innovation in the industry.

Winners of the 2024 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show

Winners of the 2024 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show

Full list of 2024 Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Champions:

  • Champion Butter
    CopperTree Farms Cultured Salted Butter
  • Champion White Milk
    Pauls Farmhouse Gold, produced by Lactalis Australia
  • Champion Flavoured Milk
    Sharma’s Kitchen Milk Badam
  • Champion Cheddar Cheese
    Bega Cheese Rindless Vintage
  • Champion Specialty Cheese
    Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese Oak Blue
  • Champion Cow Milk Cheese
    Bega Cheese Rindless Vintage
  • Champion Cheese of Show
    Bega Cheese Rindless Vintage
  • Australian Cheeseboard 
    • Bega Cheese Rindless Vintage
    • Lactalis Jindi President’s Camembert
    • Bruny Island Cheese Co. C2
    • Pecora Dairy Bloomy
    • Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese Riverine Blue
  • Champion Full Cream Ice Cream or Gelato
    Gelateria Gondola Nocciola Piemonte
  • Champion Low/Reduced Fat Ice Cream or Gelato
    Cow and the Moon Madagascan Vanilla Bean
  • Champion Novel Ice Cream or Gelato
    Bulla Dairy Foods Creamy Classic Honeycomb Stick
  • Champion Yoghurt or Cultured Milk Product
    Gippsland Dairy Lemon Curd Twist Yogurt, produced by Chobani Australia
  • Champion Cream
    Mungalli Creek Dairy Biodynamic Pouring Cream Organic
  • Champion Sheep, Goat, Buffalo or Camel Milk Product
    Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese Riverine Blue

 

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RIC hosting free online Drought Loan webinar

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RIC will host a free online Drought Loam webinar on Wednesday, 28 February 2024.

RIC hosting free online Drought Loan webinar

 

Australian Government farm business lender, RIC (Regional Investment Corporation) will host a free online webinar on Wednesday, 28 February 2024 for farmers, financial advisers, business planners and rural counsellors who are interested in learning more about how a low-interest RIC Drought Loan may be able to help prepare for, manage through or recover from drought.

As part of the online forum, RIC customer Tim Webb from Forbes, NSW will share experiences about how he and his wife, Jenny, used their Drought Loan to strengthen their farm business.

RIC Chief Executive Officer John Howard said farmers may be eligible to apply for a Drought Loan even if they are not currently in drought because the loan can also be used for activities that will reduce risk and prepare for drought.

“Whether farmers are currently in drought or between cycles, drought is never too far from their minds so knowing what financial options are available can make a difference to how quickly and effectively they manage through and recover,” Mr Howard said.

“Many farmers would be interested to know RIC’s Drought Loan is available for drought preparation activities like increasing water storage or improving water efficiency. This means even if farmers are not currently in drought but want to improve their drought resilience, they may be eligible if they have had a significant financial impact outside their control within the past 5 years.

RIC will host a free online Drought Loam webinar on Wednesday, 28 February 2024.

RIC will host a free online Drought Loam webinar on Wednesday, 28 February 2024.

“RIC loans can help to refinance or restructure existing farm debt to improve cash flow and provide access to new funding for operating expenses and capital expenditure,” he said.

Merino producer, Tim Webb is pleased to be available to help other farmers learn more about RIC loans. He will explain how a low-interest RIC loan helped his business to refinance part of their existing commercial debt during the last drought.

The Webbs were able to use the money they saved in interest payments to buy in grain to keep their breeding stock fed and their business running in preparation for retirement.

“The RIC loan kept us going through the drought and the interest pressures at the time,” Tim said.

“We’ve since been able to repay a big chunk of our debt, which has put us in a strong position as we approach succession planning and retirement – it’s been a game changer.”

To register for the free online RIC Drought Loan webinar, visit here. The webinar will be held on Wednesday 28 February 2024 from 12:00 – 1:00pm AEDT. If webinar participants are not able to attend on the day, a recording will be emailed after the event if they register in advance. For more on the RIC Drought Loan, please visit here.

 

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