This week saw some innovative beef industry members on show at Beef Australia 2018 – both in the ring and at the Pitch in the Paddock competition. CHDC General Manager Sandra Hobbs, CHDC Board Directors Mayor Kerry Hayes, Cr Chris Rolfe and Cr Megan Daniels, and I were in Rockhampton for the event, catching up with local producers, industry members and investors.

But first – everyone in the Central Highlands can help KEEP OUT CITRUS CANKER!

There is a Movement Control Order (MCO) Notice in place for the exotic disease citrus canker and its carriers after a recent canker detection was reported in the Northern Territory. The MCO commenced on 24 April 2018 and will stay in effect for three months unless revoked earlier. This means that right now members of the Central Highlands community must be vigilant in not bringing any citrus (lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges etc) into the area that has originated from the Northern Territory.

Citrus is a $40 million dollar plus industry for our region and employs hundreds of people locally. Anyone who was living in Emerald in 2005 will remember the devastation caused when we were at the centre of the outbreak of the exotic disease which saw every commercial and ornamental citrus plant in the area destroyed.

If you suspect citrus canker on your property, report it immediately to the

Exotic Pest Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881 or Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

For more information about:

  • how to identify citrus canker visit
  • the citrus canker detection in the Northern Territory visit the NT’s Department of Primary Industries and Resources website.
  • the Movement Control Order (MCO) Notice visit DAF’s website.

Congratulations to Central Highlands Droughtmaster breeders Ken and Kerry McKenzie

Blackwater Droughtmaster breeders Ken and Kerry McKenzie were successful in winning the Beef Australia Grand Champion in the commercial cattle competition held at Gracemere, with a pen of Droughtmaster Simmental cross heifers. The win is notable both because they have won the title five times in the past six years, which is testament to the consistent quality of their cattle and genetics, but also because it is the first time a pen of heifers has won the competition.

For more highlights on Beef 2018, check out Beef Central’s online coverage here.

Probiotic wins Beef 2018 Pitch in the Paddock but FARMGATE MSU was the potential standout for the Highlands

It was standing-room only in the Rocky State High School Sports Complex as eight start-ups from across Australia (and the US) pitched their innovative ideas to judges for a chance to win cash, fantastic promotional opportunities and links to grassroots customers.

The very popular audience winner was Nick Dyer from Alpha who, with his general freight site, matches freight delivery request with people travelling to your location. (For example, think caravanners dropping spare parts at the Barcaldine Bakery – everyone wins!)

The winner was Proagni which aims to remove antibiotics from the food chain by providing a probiotic alternative. In commercial trials with feedlots, the team reported that their comparative feed rates were 6.8:1 feed conversion in comparison to their product’s yield of 5.8:1 – with their cost 27% less. Second place was MEQ Probe, who, with its “Ghostbuster”-like backpack prototype, can provide objective measurement of eating quality. Finally, WaterSave placed third with a LoRaWAN based autonomous watering system for pumps to troughs, tanks and bores.

The standout for me was FarmGate MSU, a disruptive game-changing technology for the Central Highlands. Chris Balazs is a farmer and butcher from Victoria who designed a vertically integrated mobile meat processing company. No normal on-farm butchery service, the units are publicly endorsed by the RSCPA for the humane and ethical nature of the on-farm slaughter and with their hubs, provide traceable product provenance to consumers. I’ll be connecting Chris with interested parties in the region and hope to get him up in the next six months.

While there were some exciting highlights from this fantastic afternoon, it was also evident to me that agriculture must stop working in silos if we’re to move ahead as rapidly as we can. There was more than one pitch which was perceived as new for the audience but has been commercially available across different commodities for a while.

New Beef Information Resources: Central Highlands, Beef Powerhouse of Australia

CHDC prepared a new beef fact sheet for Beef 2018 called Central Highlands, Queensland: Beef Powerhouse of Australia, which has the most recent data on our industry. You can find a copy here.

Stay tuned for more on the outcomes from the Paddock to Port Tour of Townsville, Mackay, Gladstone next eNews.

Contact Liz Alexander for more information E: or M: 0429 471 511.

Image: FarmGate MSU’s Chris Balazs pitches his welfare-accredited mobile meat slaughter units at Beef Australia 2018.

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