Meet Beefaholic Kylie Schuller

We are super excited our Beef Young Farming Champion Kylie Schuller will shortly be coming to visit us

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You can read all about Kylie here

See her video here Meet Beefaholic Kylie Schuller

Kylie is on the NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council which is the united voice for farmers in NSW

We recently came across this great article from Elise Vale who is the Community Engagement Manager at Meat & Livestock Australia. Elise coordinates the Target 100 program so that cattle and sheep farmers can share their stories.

Check it out

Australian cattle and sheep farmers on target for sustainability success

Sat, 27/07/2013 – Elise Vale

Target 100 is an initiative that aims to deliver sustainable cattle and sheep farming in Australia. Elise Vale, coordinator of the program, wants to engage more people into a conversation about how our food is produced.

While 67% of Australians claim to know very little about how beef and lamb is produced, 60% want to learn how farmers care for the environment and produce food, according to research commissioned by the Australian beef and lamb industry.

With the public’s knowledge of livestock farming at such a low there is a clear disconnect between the people producing food and those eating it.

To address this gap and continually improve the sustainability of Australia’s beef and lamb industry, individual farmers and the broader cattle and sheep industry have developed Target 100.

Launched a little over a year ago, Target 100 aims to deliver sustainable cattle and sheep farming. It is the industry’s commitment to take positive action to advance sustainability throughout the industry and to help educate the community about food production.

Target 100 aims to achieve three outcomes:

  • Connect beef and lamb consumers with the farmers who produce their food via social media and events
  • Showcase 100 research and development projects that provide the Australian cattle and sheep industry with a constant stream of scientific research to adapt its practices in line with the changing environment, enabling the industry to feed a growing population sustainably for generations to come
  • Highlight what individual cattle and sheep farmers are doing on their properties to become more sustainable every day, demonstrating how previous research has led to changes in farming.

Australian cattle and sheep farmers are caretakers of almost half of Australia’s landmass and understand from first-hand experience the importance of a healthy environment. Their livelihoods depend on it.

Farmers have been investing in environmental research and development for many years through the levies they pay on each head of livestock sold. Around $12 million is invested each year in research to reduce the industry’s environmental impact through improving farming practices.

Less than 8 per cent of Australia’s land is suitable for cropping. Cattle and sheep, which produce nutrient-rich protein from grass that is inedible by other animals, are mainly reared on extensive rangelands and semi-arid areas where other food production is not possible.

This is one factor that makes Australia one of the most efficient producers of quality livestock in the world, allowing us to feed our own population and the growing global population.

And while there is much work to be done, Target 100 is making a difference. It was named the winner of the United Nations Association of Australia’s World Environment Day Sustainability Education Award from a strong field of contenders earlier this year and previously it was awarded the prestigious 2012 Origin Gold Banksia Award. The program also received the Banksia Education Award.

If you are someone who cares about good quality beef and lamb, where it comes from and how it gets to you, how about joining the conversation? Target 100 is accessible through Facebook and Twitter, and you can view the full list of 100 industry initiatives and individual farmer stories here.

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Saving water its no laughing matter

 Australia’s unpredictable rain patterns and extended periods of drought mean that efficient water management is essential for not just our farmers but every single person in Australia

Cattle and sheep farmers rely on water efficient grazing practices to make the most of the water available to them.

Through grazing management strategies, farmers manage the frequency and intensity of grazing to make the best use of the pastures, balancing the needs of the grazing animal, the pasture and the environment.

You can read all about the way they do this here 

What the Cranebrook Archibull team has been investigating is how everyone can make sure they reduce their water footprint

water cycle

Water is a scare resource we all have a role to play is using it wisely. We found some great websites to help us investigate.  Check them out here 

There are three types of water we can recycle or reuse

Green Blue and Grey water

To explain it simply:

The blue water refers to freshwater

The green water refers to water stored in soil

The grey water is polluted water

A more detailed explanation thanks to wiki

A water footprint consists of three components: blue, green, and grey.

The blue water footprint is the volume of freshwater that evaporated from the global blue water resources (surface water and ground water) to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community.

The green water footprint is the volume of water evaporated from the global green water resources (rainwater stored in the soil as soil moisture).

The grey water footprint is the volume of polluted water that associates with the production of all goods and services for the individual or community. The latter can be estimated as the volume of water that is required to dilute pollutants to such an extent that the quality of the water remains at or above agreed water quality standards.

Did you know…?

  • On average, a person uses about 200 litres of water per day, of which 5-10 litres is for basic survival, i.e. drinking and food preparation.
  • The other 190 litres is used for washing (showers, dishes, clothes, toilets) and the garden.
  • Approximately half the water supplied to urban areas in Australia ends up as waste water, according to a report by the Institute for Sustainable Futures prepared for the Water Services Association in 1998.

Wow how impressive is this!!!!.  Some communities have been successful in reducing average personal tap water usage to as low as 130 litres per day.

Water tipsSource http://www.savewater.com.au/how-to-save-water/in-the-home

Together we can all do our bit to help reduce water consumption.

Check this out to calculate your household water use http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Sustainability/SavingWater/Documents/water_household_calculator.pdf

ducks-water-600x450_23781_600x450

Did you know for example?

Dual flush toilets use 5 litres of water on average instead of 11 litres
used by older, single flush toilets. (calculated on an average of 35 flushes
per person per week in the house).

Dual Flush Toilet Pic

Its no laughing matter so check out some great tips in here  

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Do you love your red meat?

Do you love your red meat.

277_different-cuts-of-meat_flash

Well here is a great article that will give you the inside story

Read it here 

A few highlights

How to speak beef

A glossary of terms, hot off the grill.

how-to-pick-the-perfect-cut-of-beef

Dry-aged: Dry-aged meat is hung on the bone to break down the fibres, evaporate moisture and concentrate flavour; a more expensive process for the providore, as the meat can lose as much as 20 per cent of its weight.

Entrecote: The French term for scotch fillet or rib-eye off the bone (rib-eye on the bone is referred to as cote de boeuf).

Eye fillet/tenderloin: The smallest, most expensive and tender cut of meat taken from the short loin. It’s really more about tenderness than depth of flavour.

Flank: Taken from the belly, close to the hind legs. Very lean meat that benefits from a marinade to make it tender.

Grain-fed: For an animal to be classed as grain-fed it must have been finished in an accredited feedlot for a required number of days ranging from minimum of 70 days through to 300-plus days. Grain-fed beef is more consistent in quality and generally more tender, although all animals are started on grass or pastures.

Grass-fed: A grass-fed or pasture-fed beast has spent its life grazing on pastures and natural grasses. Typically, grass-fed steak has more resilience and character than grain-fed.

Hanger/onglet: This tender cut ‘hangs’ within the diaphragm, attaching itself to the last rib and the spine near the kidneys, giving it a rich, gamey flavour.

Marble score: Running from 1 to 9+, the marble score is used to grade the intramuscular fat content, particularly significant in wagyu beef. The higher the score, the higher the fat content – and the higher the price.

Minute steak: A small thinly-cut piece of steak (often a flattened-out end piece of tenderloin) that can be cooked quickly.

Oyster blade/flat iron: A tender piece of meat cut from the shoulder of the beast.

Porterhouse: The American term for T-bone, although often incorrectly used in Australia to describe a sirloin steak.

Rib-eye: Taken from the fore-rib section, this juicy, tender steak has enough fat to give it real flavour. Served on the bone, it’s about as good as steak gets.

Rump: Taken from the back leg, a good value steak with a good chew and great flavour.

Scotch fillet: A boneless rib-eye; the best bet for cooking at home.

Sirloin: From the rear back portion of the animal between the scotch fillet and rump.

Skirt: There are four types – inside, thick (hanger), thin, and skirt steak (flank) – from different parts of the carcass. Fibrous, with a bit of a chew, but great flavour.

T-Bone: A bone-in steak combining the eye fillet and the sirloin, making it very tender yet with good flavour.

Wagyu: Full-blood wagyu comes from 100 per cent pure Japanese black wagyu and is renowned for its extreme marbling and tender, full-flavoured meat. Cross-breeding produces a range of wagyu classifications.

Wet-aged: Wet-aged beef is beef that has typically been aged in a vacuum-sealed bag. This retains its moisture, keeping weight loss to a minimum. The natural enzymes break down and tenderise the fibres of meat, but the natural juices are purged or lost.

Yearling: Yearling beef, which makes up most of the beef sold in local supermarkets and butchers, can actually be from cattle up to 30 months of age, as long as they don’t have any permanent incisor teeth.

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Bos Taurus vs Bos indicus Breeds of Cattle

Did you know we have two types of cattle in Australia

Bos taurus

A typical Bos indicus bull
A typical Bos indicus bull

Tropical – Bos Indicus

These breeds have a Zebu component, which originated in southern Asia. Zebus are distinguished from the European breeds by the presence of a musculo-fatty hump, a pendulous dewlap, apendulous prepuce in the male, and a short sleek coat. They are better suited to the hot temperate regions of Australia because they are more tolerant of heat and are resistant to tickfever, a common disease in these areas.

Characteristics of the main Bos indicus breeds in Australia are:

  • Belmont Red. Origin: Queensland. Developed in Australia in 1968. 50% Africander,25% Hereford, 25% Shorthorn. Features: red colour; horned.
  • Brahman. Origin: USA. Introduced to Australia in 1933. Features aresilver-grey coat; horned. Calve easily, milk well and are very protective oftheir young. Maternal/rotation place in crossbreeding.
  • Brangus. Developed from Brahman and Angus. Upgrading of breed between 1950and 1960. Brangus are made up of 37.5% Brahman and 62.5% Angus. Black, polled,reasonable heat and tick tolerance. Medium sized, average to late maturity,yields a carcase without excess fat.
  • Braford. Developed in Queensland between 1946 and 1952. 50% Hereford and 50%Brahman, now stabilised. Heat resistant and relatively tick tolerant. Slightlylater maturing than the British breeds. Produces good yearling and steercarcases.
  • Droughtmaster. Queensland. Established in Australia in 1956. 37.5%-50% Brahman and50%-62.5% Shorthorn, with some mixture of Red Poll and Hereford. Features arered colour: horned or polled.
  • Santa Gertrudis. Origin: USA. 37.5% Brahman, 62.5% Shorthorn. Introduced toAustralia in 1952. Features are red colour; polled or horned. Maternal/rotational/terminal place incrossbreeding.

Temperate – Bos Taurus

Bos taurus

A typical Bos Taurus bull
 A typical Bos Taurus bull

Bos taurus breeds originated in Europe and are all humpless.  These breeds are better suited to areas in southern Australia.

Characteristics of some of the main Bos taurus breeds are:

  • Angus. Origin: Scotland. Introduced to Australia about 1840. Features are ablack coat (recessive red gene also), polled. Suited to vealer, steer andbullock production or maternal/rotational place in crossbreeding.
  • Hereford. Origin: England. Introduced to Australia in 1826. Features are redcoat with white face and underline, and horned. Suited to vealer, steer andbullock production or maternal/rotation place in crossbreeding.
  • Poll Hereford. Origin: USA. Introduced around 1920. Little difference betweenHereford and Poll Hereford apart from Poll factor. Well suited to all markets.
  • Murray Grey. Origin: Wodonga, Victoria. Developed in 1905 from Angus Shorthorn.Features are dun grey coat (range from silver grey to dark grey), polled. Suitedto vealer, steer and bullock production or maternal/rotational place incrossbreeding.
  • Shorthorn. Origin: England. Introduced to Australia in 1825. Features are red,roan or white coat; polled and horned breeds. Contributed to the development ofSanta Gertrudis, Belmont Red, Droughtmaster and Murray Grey. Suited to vealer,steer and bullock production or maternal/rotational place in crossbreeding.
  • Charolais. Origin: France. Introduced to Australia in 1969. Features are whiteor cream coat; polled and horned strains. Suited to bullock production or as aterminal sire in crossbreeding programs.
  • Limousin. Origin: France. Introduced to Australia in 1973. Light brown incolour and horned. Breed is heavily muscled and known for high meat yield with aminimum of fat. Smaller than other European breeds and earlier in maturity, butlater maturing than British breeds. Suitable for crossbreeding programs.
  • Simmental. Origin: Western Europe (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France etc) .Introduced to Australia in 1970. Features are red coat with broken whitemarkings and white face; horned and polled strains. Suited to vealer, steer andbullock production maternal/rotational/terminal place in crossbreeding.

Here is where they are located in Australia

Cattle-Numbers-Map_as-at-June-2011

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Paddock to Plate

Beef Supply chain

67% of Australians say they know very little about how their beef gets from paddock to plate and most have no idea about the difference between grass feed and grain fed.

Grass fed vs Grain Fed

We found out here 

Grass Fed Beef:

Fresh Spring pastures

For an animal to be classified as grass fed it means that they have spent their entire life grazing pastures. This doesn’t always mean that they have not been supplementary fed though. Due to seasonal conditions many farmers supplementary feed their cattle on a range of feedstocks like hay or silage and in some cases even grain. The fact that these cattle have not been fed in an accredited feedlot and instead been fed in a range/paddock situation means that they are still classed as grass fed. Within the cattle industry they would be considered as Supplementary Fed, however until recently there are no beef labelling requirements for this type of system as it would be near impossible to govern.

Grass fed beef when finished on fresh spring pastures has the amazing blend of texture and flavour.

 

Typically grass fed steak has a tougher texture than grain fed although it also has more taste. The different taste you will find when eating a grass fed steak is due to the flavour of the grass coming through in the beef. This puts truth to the saying “you are what you eat” for cattle production. The flavour you taste comes from the type of grasses the cattle have grazed and because of this different pastures can also give the beef different flavours, which along with seasonal conditions brings consistency into question. When something is given a flavour it will instantly give the consumer the choice as to whether they like it or dislike it. If it doesn’t have a taste you don’t rule anyone out and there is the opportunity to put selected flavours with it. Take a McDonalds hamburger for instance. The actual beef patty by itself has no flavour at all but it creates the base for the other ingredients to be put with it which appeal to the targeted consumer.

The process of the life of an animal finished on grass is: animal is born in a grass fed system > animal is weaned from its mother and put back into a grass fed system > animal is finished in a grass fed system.

Grain Fed Beef:

An example of a grain based ration

For an animal to be classed as grain fed it must have been finished in an accredited feedlot for a required number of days. There are a number of different categories starting at a minimum of 60 days (predominately domestic) ranging right through to 300+ days (Wagyu type export markets). It is surprising how often that the number of days is misconceived by the average consumer as being the age of the animal. These animals actually spend the majority of their life in a grass fed system before being finished in a feedlot on a grain based ration.

The strength of grain fed beef is that it is consistent all year round due to the weather elements being taken out of the situation. Although much of Australia’s grain fed beef is exported to countries like Japan and Korea there is a growing demand for it domestically. This is due to the fact that many consumers are looking for consistency and grain fed beef can deliver this. Due to the finishing process on grain the eating quality and tenderness is improved. Other meat characteristics like marbling (intramuscular fat) are also increased all leading to more tender cuts. Grain fed beef doesn’t have as much flavour as its counterpart grass fed beef. If you ever tried eating a wheat bix (made from wheat) without any milk or sugar you would agree they are pretty bland and have very little flavour. Well once again the “you are what you eat” rule applies and the flavour of grain fed beef is not as pronounced as grass fed and this is why it has become a favourite within the restaurant industry. The beef is guaranteed to have good eating qualities and chefs can then put their own flavours with it to create exactly what they want.

The process of the life of an animal finished on grain is: animal is born in a grass fed system > animal is weaned from it’s mother and put back into a grass fed system > animal is finished in an accredited feedlot on a grain based diet (most animals spend approximately 3/4 of their life in a grass fed system).

grass-fed-beef-300x180

 

 

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Have you thought about a career in agriculture

Our school in Sydney is surrounded by houses

Cranebrook High School Google Map

Yet we are lucky enough to have a working school farm  which has a  flock of Dorper sheep for meat production, cropping and gardens for vegetable production, both laying and meat hens, alpacas for high quality fibre and a calf for exhibition at the Penrith Show. We learn about cattle, sheep, alpacas, poultry, landscape, bonsai, sustainability, and aquaculture and farm management.

What’s even better is technology allows us to show it to you. Take a virtual tour here

Cranebrook High School Virtual Farm

As part of participating in the Archibull Prize our school will be visited by an Art4agriculture Young Farming Champion (YFC).  You can read all about them here.

One of the things you will notice is not all the YFC grew up in the country or come from a farming background

For example Kirsty McCormack who is a 2013 Cotton YFC was introduced to agriculture at school. See here and got the opportunity to participate in the PICSE program which has this great brochure about careers in agriculture called Science Taking You Places. There is even a story about Kirsty on page 8

Kirsty McCormack PICSE

Sharna Holman is another interesting story. See here. Sharna grew up in the city like most of us. Sharna attended Muirfield High School.

The school has a 4 hectare farm which allowed us to have cattle, sheep, alpacas, pigs, chicken, bee hives, and of course the obligatory vegetable patches.

I soon found I loved learning more about the links between farming and food, and all about agricultural production. I particularly enjoyed year 11 and 12, when our teacher Ms Heap took our class on excursions and camps to Camden and Bathurst, and we had a chance to go onto working farms.

When I was in Year 10, I was a volunteer at the Sydney Royal Easter Show which was an amazing experience on so many levels including providing insights into consumers’ knowledge (or lack of) of paddock to plate production

I loved working at Australian Egg Corporation Ltd area in the Food Farm. When I volunteered here kids could come in and paint eggs.

It was my Sydney Royal Easter Show experiences from volunteering and then competing as part of Muirfield High School Show Team and then the opportunity to steward at the show that sparked my interest in agriculture as a career and all the doors and opportunities that it opened up.

Like Sharna we are very lucky to have a small farm at our school, inspiring teachers like Mrs Saxon and Mr Murray

Mrs Saxon and Mr Murray Mr Murray and Mrs Saxon 

You can here Mrs Saxon talk about our school farm here

Mrs Saxon talks about Cranebrook High School Farm

A number of our students are lucky enough get to participate at the Royal Easter Show too

prizes

A number of our students like Sharna and Kirsty have decided on careers in agriculture too. It’s just goes to show if you give young people agriculture experiences they will often follow agriculture career pathways

 

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Farming aint what it used to be

Have you visited a real farm lately? 

Australia is the most urbanised country in the world and surveys say only 1 in 2 Australians have had a ‘farm experience’.

Having a farm experience can mean lot of different things to different people

For the majority of students in our school their farm experience is the school’s agriculture plot. You can see it here

Cranebrook High School

For some people it might be a vegie patch in your own backyard.  Maybe like Amber’s Teeny Tiny Farm

For others it may have been a trip to Sydney City Farm or maybe they are even involved in a community garden 

Maybe they have visited a farm tourist attraction like this one http://www.oxleyfarm.com.au/

The problem with all these experiences is people often have this idea farming is old fashion and farmers look like old MacDonald

They don’t get to see the level of technology that the farmers who actually feed more people than their own families use. This often leads to young people like us not seeing agriculture as an exciting career

I would think not too many people have visited a farm like Cotton Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley’s

or Beef Young Farming Champion Bronwyn Roberts whose family have been feeding the world for 500 years

If they had they would see things like precision farming technology

Precision Farming

This technology allows farmers to match things like fertilizer, pesticides and seed to the yield potential of specific parts of the paddock. This means that crop nutrients and chemical inputs are being applied efficiently where they are required and at a rate that will be effective in getting the best outcome for food production with minimal impact on the land that grows it

These tools also gather extremely useful and accurate data that allow quick and clear analysis to enable informed management decisions to be made.

Take a look at this video and you will see what we mean.

On Australian Cotton farms they have machinery like this

Our farmers, growers, and producers are taking up smartphone app technology that gives them up to the minute access to general information tools, like weather, news, or finance. Then there are farm management and  data collection apps, calculator apps, information and resource apps as well as enabling apps

 Samrt phone apps

 See http://www.theland.com.au/news/agriculture/agribusiness/general-news/smart-phones-whet-the-appetite/2631592.aspx?storypage=0

Here are a few American Examples

Agriculture Crowdsourcing: These sample apps use the smartphone and crowdsourcing to bring data from the field into a lab database.
Agriculture Management Information Apps: These types of applications are mostly mobile extensions of a farm or operation management system.
Agriculture Calculator Apps: These are a sample of some of smartphone tools to help make in field calculations without having to head back to the home office.
Agriculture Information Resource Apps: These types of apps are primarily used as a lookup tool, either to help identify species, review a piece of regulation, or get the specifics on an issue.
Agriculture News Apps: These are a sample of agri-media focused news aggregators.
Weather Apps: These are a sample of smartphone weather applications.”

Source: Agriculture Answering the Call of Smartphones | This Week In Ag

Does a career get more high tech than farming? Looks pretty exciting to us

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