After last year’s joint venture with Queensland’s Acton Land and Cattle, Australian Country Choice (ACC) is turning its focus to genetic technologies to drive the vertically integrated beef business forward.
The company’s property division is currently implementing a new bull breeding project that utilises in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques.
ACC general manager David Foote said the benefits of the new cattle breeding program will take two and half years to flow through its integrated systems to Coles supermarket customers.
“While not a game changer for the cattle industry, we do think that our bull breeding project will greatly enhance our opportunity and capacity to breed a sire that is both environmentally adaptable, productive, and his progeny will meet the measured eating quality expectations of our customers,” Mr Foote said.
“Breeding is a long game, so first calves will not be through the chain for another 30 months.
“Ideally, the program will allow us to continue with more certainty and supply chain security in the consistency of quality that we have established over many years.”
ACC’s property division is also beginning to embrace spatial mapping technologies to improve pasture utilisation, investigating the use of drones to enhance remote sensing opportunities, and working with university researchers on cattle pain relief programs.
“Our focus is not to be the pioneer, but certainly an early adopter,” he said.
Mr Foote added ACC will continue its investment in areas that increase productivity or the capacity to measure and manage their business.
“Our feedlot division is working on technologies for predictive performance management, dag loads on hides at slaughter, and opportunities for increased use of solar technologies to reduce increasing energy costs,” he said.
“Our processing division is concentrating on identifying technologies to improve waste stream management, achieve cost savings in energy and water utilisation and further investigate technologies for yield mapping and boning room measurements.”
Mr Foote believes it’s important for the company to keep abreast of technological advances “in such a fast changing world” to remain a competitive and sustainable supply chain.
“Improving the ability to measure productivity across all business units to optimise the productive capacities of our operations is very important to ACC,” he said.
“Also, maintain the quality and consistency of our supply chain in a safe working environment is vital to our business success in the red meat industry.”