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Rachael Cruwys

Year of Award: 2018 Award State: Queensland Agriculture > Meat And Dairy
The Samuel and Eileen Gluyas Churchill Fellowship to increase the domestic marketability of Brahman cattle through improved marketing and genetics - USA

My Fellowship journey saw me travel to the United States to research the topic of marketing of brahman cattle in both stud and commercial scenarios with the view to improve and change the perception of the consumer in Australia. Given the size of the American beef herd, the diversity of breeds and their marketing being some of the best in the world as it targets both the American and Global consumer, any additional knowledge that I gained can only be an additional string in the Australian Brahman breed’s bow.

Through my travels I was able to cover a large number of aspects pertaining to the Brahman breed, i.e., backgrounding and feeding of cattle, genetics, carcase traits and marketing, and a holistic view of the commercial beef production from paddock to plate. 

Improved Brahman marketability and genetics in Australia means, more beef produced per hectare and improved price, which flows on to increased financial stability for both the producer and wider community.  The consumer benefits with access to another sustainable and ethically produced protein option. For the environment it means reduced grazing pressure on ground cover and waterways. 

The increased awareness of the availability of genetic information and how to utilise in parallel with selection by breed characteristics will increase the quality of the Australian Brahman herd, enabling it to better meet the current consumer expectations of quality beef.

In Australia we have a purebred animal that can answer consumer demands surrounding welfare, traceability, provenance and sustainability, but we need to overcome the perpetuation of the perceptions surrounding our breed through targeted research and increased market awareness.

Whether producers choose branded beef production, traditional commodity based trading or a more vertically integrated ‘paddock to plate’ business model, it is paramount that we, through improved marketing strategies bring the consumer to the table to occupy the remaining chair in the Brahman beef supply chain journey.

Whilst my travels did not culminate in bringing home immediate solutions to implement, they have further strengthened my resolve. Through the connections I have made in the global community with those who share the same passion and drive, it is with much excitement that I look forward to an internationally collaborative approach in bringing about change for the betterment of the Brahman breed. 

Keywords: Brahman, Bos Indicus, Uniform Retail Meat Identity Standards (URMIS), Expected progeny differences (EPD), Expected Breeding Values (EBV), Residual Feed Intake (RFI), Calpain, Capastatin, Meat Standards Australia (MSA), Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)

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