BetterBeef Group Profiles

Upper Murray and Mudgegonga Groups – Using fodder to fill the winter feed gap

September 2022

Many producers have seen images of cattle strip grazing across a crop of high-yielding fodder beet.  A group of beef producers, from the Upper Murray and Murmungee BetterBeef groups in north east Victoria had seen fodder beet first-hand and were keen to investigate how it would perform in their local environments, what costs would be involved and what issues might they run into.  The demonstration was set up in early 2019, with funding from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and Agriculture Victoria.


Ballarat group – Stock handling, farm technology and safety equipment

The Ballarat BetterBeef group in conjunction with the Pyrenees and Smeaton BestWool/BestLamb Groups recently held a stock handling and farm safety field day, with guest speakers from Agriculture Victoria, Australian Wool Innovation and the Catchment Management Authority. The day also included a small trades display which highlighted infrastructure such as yarding and handling facilities for both beef and sheep, cattle tags, specialist drones and farm safety.


Snapshot of 2020 profiles

BetterBeef has 24 producer groups distributed around the key beef production areas of rural Victoria. Each month we publish a profile of one of the groups in the network. The profiles are there for groups in the network to learn about what other groups have been doing, what has been challenging them and how they tackle these challenges. The profiles are also provided to demonstrate the impact that our groups have on individual producers not only in terms of practical farming operations, but also socially.

This month Darren Hickey, BetterBeef Project Leader, gives a recap of the group profiles for 2020.

High Country Group
Farming from a different perspective

Members of the High Country Group chatting in a paddockSince the High Country BetterBeef Group of beef producers formed in 2011, they have had no trouble maintaining its membership. It comprises farmers from second or third 'alternate careers', including corporate and professional backgrounds.

As a result, they have learned their farming practices from the ground up.


Phillip Island Betterbeef Group

Members of the Phillip Island BetterBeef group, coordinated by John Gallienne, run farms in one of Victoria’s most picturesque regions which is very popular with tourists from all over the world. Discussions in the group of late have been on the topic of how to farm in the face of challenges such as local wildlife (Cape Barren Geese) competing for feedbase resources, urban encroachment, and the pressures of tourism industries.

Read more about the Phillip Island Betterbeef Group:

West Gippsland Betterbeef Group — Measuring, monitoring and using data

This month’s group profile is on the West Gippsland BetterBeef group coordinated by Fiona Baker, beef industry extension officer with Agriculture Victoria based at Ellinbank.

Read this profile to learn about the how this group collects and uses data to support members make important decisions about pasture production and feeding cattle to reach target weights.

Upper Murray BetterBeef Group — Triumph through adversity

Upper murray BetterBeef group in a paddock looking at a cropThis time last year we profiled the Upper Murray BetterBeef Group, based in North East Victoria and their study tour to Tasmania. This group has a focus on furthering production efficiency and profitability through participating in BredWell Fed Well courses and Meat Standards Australia training, as well as increasing their knowledge in grazing management, soil fertility and species selection.

The group were keen to investigate how to increase the price paid for their product, so since their 2019 trip to Tasmania they have embarked on a fact-finding mission, investigating the processes and requirements of branded contracts around Smithton in Tasmania. The trip was designed to increase their awareness of what is required to become an ‘ideal’ customer supplying a branded contract as well as find out what the end consumer is looking for in a premium product.

Read more about the Upper Murray BetterBeef Group:

Buffalo — Risk management for health and safety

Seven farmers lined up against a fence on a hill, green valley in the backgroundBuffalo BetterBeef Group Coordinator Malcolm Cock brought the topic of ‘risk management’ into focus for the group.

He said that as farmers we work in a high-risk business yet very few producers have a business plan that includes a comprehensive risk management section incorporating health (including mental health) and safety.

As a result, the Buffalo group have made risk management a priority, resulting in some changes to their approach and practices.

Read more about managing risk in a farming business:

Mirboo North–Boolarra — Conserving extra spring growth

Cattle eating feed in a paddock

Often a topic raised in the 'whip around' session can generate a lot of discussion, as was the case for the group at their October 2019 meeting.

One of the producers raised the question: 'I'm not sure if I should make silage this year or just stick with making hay rolls, what is the best way to conserve the extra spring growth?'

Read more:

Tallangatta — Increasing feed with grazing control

An ongoing discussion with the Tallangatta group is achieving the goal of using grazing management to increase farm-grown feed supply. Differing tools and techniques have been trialled and implemented by some of the group members.

Read more:

Mitchell River Group — Early weaning for drought conditions

In response to the drought in East and Central Gippsland many producers in the Mitchell River group shifted to earlier weaning. Those who were not already weaning at 5 to 6 months shifted to that time frame, others went to 4 to 5 months and, where the dry conditions have made it necessary, several producers are weaning at a minimum weight of 100 kg (10 to 12 weeks).

With appropriate nutrition and a careful transition the calves have thrived, so most producers will continue with earlier weaning when the drought eases

Read more:

Upper Murray and Mudgegonga Groups — Study tours to Tasmania

9 group members having a discussion in a paddock

We meet two groups that are coordinated by Chris Miriams and hear about what they learned from their study tours to Tasmania.

Read more:

BetterBeef group tour to New England

8 group members posing for a photo on a farm in New England

In May 2019, Meg Bell arranged a tour to the New England region for 5 producers from the Western Districts group and 2 producers from the South Eastern Buffalo group.

The 5-day tour included a visit to the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale. The UNE is a leading innovator in agricultural studies and applied research.

The group were keen to visit UNE's SMART Farm Innovation Centre (SFIC) to view the different technologies in action and how they may be incorporated into their own farm enterprises.

Other properties visited included:

  • 'Glenavon Angus' and 'Yalgoo' where Poll Herefords and Merinos are the focus
  • 'Walcha Dairy' in an area dominated by beef cattle and wool sheep
  • 'Congi Station' primarily Merino, with Hereford x Angus as a secondary focus.

Read more:

Page last updated: 27 Sep 2022