MORE than 100 producers gathered at the O'Meehan property in Borden last Wednesday to listen to an interesting range of speakers talk about the future of beef.
Home to the Stirling Ranges beef label, Paul O'Meehan's feedlot sits at the foot of the Stirling Ranges in the Great Southern and was the perfect backdrop for producers and industry representatives to hear about the opportunities and challenges that will face the beef industry in the future and how to traverse those challenges and opportunities to be successful at a field day with the theme, 'Beef 2029: Friend or Foe'.
Also involved in the day was the team from Ryan's Quality Meats, which has a strong relationship with the O'Meehan farming operation and distributes the Stirling Range beef product.
Ryan's Quality Meats owner Greg Ryan was also responsible for bringing more than 30 chefs to the property the day before the producer field day to see how the beef they use is produced from paddock to plate.
Speakers on the day included Meat and Livestock Australia's David Beatty who spoke on market opportunities for Australian beef, global opportunities and challenges for beef and the latest in on-farm technology that will take the beef industry into the digital age.
This was followed by charismatic vet, Enoch Bergman, Swans Veterinary Services, Esperance who spoke about the importance of ensuring calves are ready for the feedlot to achieve the greatest profitability.
Later in the day, Mr Bergman also discussed how to build a better cow and how heifer development strategies can optimise herd structure and profitability.
Bevan Ravenhill, Lawsons Angus, then presented on producing an ideal animal for the feedlot market and how bull selection, genetics, time of calving and preparation for sale are key drivers in this.
Taking a deviation from the beef theme was an inspirational talk from Hockeyroo Rachael Lynch, a dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Olympian.
Ms Lynch spoke about the pressures that come with being an international athlete and how her work as a registered nurse in the neurological rehabilitation ward at Fiona Stanley Hosptial helped her cope with those pressures.
Ms Lynch has now played over 200 games for Australia as goalkeeper and she is also very active in the mental health space as an ambassador for RUOK? Day.
British Sausage Company managing director Mark Rintoul took the audience through the incredible journey of the British Sausage Company, which was started by British ex-pat Mick Ferrero who began making sausages in the back of a butcher shop and grew his business from producing one tonne of sausages a week in 1991 to 250t a week now.
BusinessAg owner David Falconer, who was also a key co-ordinator of the day, concluded proceedings by wrapping things up and also addressing some key points that producers should be looking at to prepare themselves for an ever-changing future.
Paul O'Meehan said he had put similar days on in the past, but probably not for three or four years.
"I was keen to do something after seeing the Meat and Livestock Australia demonstration farm in Canberra where the latest in agricultural technology is put to work," Mr O'Meehan said.
"I have probably been a bit frustrated with where we are at in the beef industry in terms of new technology adoption.
"The grains industry would be 15-20 years ahead of us in that regard and I think it is time the beef industry caught up."
Mr O'Meehan said the day as a whole went off well and he had positive feedback on the speaker line-up.
"There was a good mix of speakers and they all had information that dove-tailed into the other," he said.
In terms of the chef day last Tuesday, Mr O'Meehan said the idea for that came from wanting to engage with the other end of the supply chain.
"We probably don't engage with the chefs as much as we do with producers," he said.
"There were more than 25 ridgy didge chefs who came and had a look at the farm and it was great to show them what goes into producing the beef that they put on the plate."
Mr O'Meehan said he wanted to thank Greg Ryan, Ryan's Quality Meats and his daughter Mikaela and David Falconer and his team for helping co-ordinate the day.
"Also to my staff who did an exceptional job in helping to make the two days a success," he said.