SAMRC’s Southern NSW region comprises the Riverina, Southern and Central Slopes and Tablelands, and the coastal hinterland from Greater Sydney to the NSW/VIC Border. In terms of broadacre industries, two key features of this region include the relatively intensive (and often integrated) nature of crop and livestock enterprises, and the diverse range of production systems that they encompass. These systems largely align with the main agro-climatic zones present in the area – namely cool/cold temperate, warm temperate (sub-humid) and Mediterranean.
It is the intensive and integrated nature of broadacre production systems in southern NSW, and the large climatic variation under which they are managed, which gives rise to at least two of the major issues impacting red meat and livestock production (and agriculture more generally) in this region. Aside from the pronounced ‘winter feed gap’ that impacts all southern States and Territories, the increased volatility in seasonal extremes, along with the progressive changes in climate away from long-term averages, places unprecedented importance on the ability to make accurate and timely management decisions around livestock, pastures and crops. As related weather patterns shift, the ability to find and exploit synergies between livestock and non-livestock enterprises has become even more crucial to extending production and productivity (and profitability) throughout the year.
Equally, southern NSW has a number of characteristics that give rise to significant opportunities in the future. The region is relatively well-resourced with road and rail infrastructure, and numerous large rural and regional centres, all of which provide valuable access to markets and marketing facilities, professional services and labour. Southern NSW also benefits from easy access to some of Australia’s largest lot-feeding and processing facilities, thereby enhancing its capacity – and reputation – for producing and processing high-quality red meat and livestock. Importantly, however, the ability to fully realise this capacity will rely heavily on building greater connectivity between producers and consumers through red meat and livestock supply chains.
Against this backdrop, the RD&A investment priorities for southern NSW can best be summarised into two categories: strategic, long-term investments with a largely “all of industry” benefit; and short-term, operational priorities aimed at the (small number of) issues specific to the region. These are summarised in the table below.
- Integrations and integrity in the supply chain
- Building resilience in livestock production systems
- Farm Business performance
- Improve industry engagement