Respected agribusiness leader Troy Setter sees big opportunities ahead for beef production in Australia. Mr Setter is chief executive officer of Consolidate Pastoral Company, Australia’s largest private beef producer with 367,500 head of cattle run on a portfolio of 16 stations across Australia’s three Northern states.
CPC’s stations are vertically integrated with its two joint venture feedlots in Indonesia. Throughout his career Troy has been responsible for all aspects of the supply chain; from cereal and fibre cropping, grain and grass fed cattle operations, domestic and international logistics, trading and shipping through to genetic improvement, beef and cattle marketing, broad strategy development, investment and finance.
He spent time as chief operating officer with Australian Agricultural Company and has held many key management positions with agribusinesses.
He has a degree in Rural Science from The University of New England and has completed the Agribusiness program at Harvard Business School.
Here, he gives his perceptions on key beef industry issues.
Where do you see the big opportunities for northern Australian cattle production going forward?
There are significant opportunities for Northern Australian cattle producers to continue to improve genetics and further embrace technology that will improve the productivity of the beef industry as a whole.
This can be as simple as further developing their properties by investing in fencing and watering points to increase carrying capacity and grazing efficiencies, or as complex as investing in genetics and technology to align with technology such as DEXA.
There are many genetic and nutritional opportunities for producers to invest in to increase productivity. CPC continues to invest in genetics, nutrition, our stations, technology such as walk-over weighing technology and our team to increase our productivity.
The Australian industry’s competitive advantage is not only in our proximity to the growing markets of Asia but also our high-quality, clean and green product, and our ability to deliver a product that meets a very large range of customer requirements, whether that’s a lean beef for Indonesian customers or a more marbled product for Japan.
What are the main challenges your business is currently dealing with?
The Australian cattle industry is starting to rebuild after several years of drought. The Northern Territory and Kimberly had a great wet season, however Queensland remains historically dry in many regions. The industry does need consistent seasons to see further long-term herd recovery.
Trading cattle for our feedlots remain in tight supply giving producers solid prices. The work we have done to make sure our portfolio has geographic diversity and to build a self-sustaining herd, positions us pretty well in this regard.
Indian buffalo meat is causing challenges for the Indonesian market due to its low price that reflects its low quality. The average beef consumption in Indonesia is close to 2kg per person per year, yet OECD is close to 14 kgs. There is massive opportunity for beef consumption per person to increase in Indonesia. Australia needs to ensure it maintains its reputation as a supplier of quality safe beef and cattle.
What do you think the cattle market will do for the rest of the year?
We’re positive on the outlook for the Australian cattle industry for 2017. The Australian market continues to be strong due to tight cattle supply in Australia and in many of our destination markets, particularly in Asia. If there is a lack of rain in spring and summer this may place price pressure on cattle prices in Queensland.
If you could deliver one key message to governments on action needed in your industry, what would it be?
We encourage the federal, state and territory governments to continue to support investment in agriculture and the economic development of Northern Australia. By 2050, the agricultural sector in Australia will require $850bn more investment than the domestic capital available to remain competitive. It’s imperative that we continue to welcome overseas capital to ensure that the industry remains competitive in a global market place, and the agricultural sector can create wealth for the Australian economy as well as provide important jobs in rural and regional Australia.
What will the new model for cattle producer representation look like. Why is it important to be focusing on getting leadership right and creating the right structure?
The Australian beef industry is one of Australia’s largest export earners and largest custodians of Australia’s land and water resources. It is absolutely critical that the Australian cattle industry has the best possible elected and employed leadership and financial resources to advocate for and develop policy for Australian cattle producers. The existing structures to represent cattle producers are complex and have several legacy challenges. The development of a directly elected organisation to represent all cattle producers with the appropriate resources has taken time.