Corresponding author – Ian McLean, Agribusiness consultant.  Email:


The effective utilisation and preservation of the natural resource base features as a standalone chapter in a recently released independent publication on the Australian beef industry.

The Australian Beef Report: 2020 Vision details the financial and production performance of family beef businesses in Australia. The primary authors of the report are Ian McLean, Phil Holmes and Michael Wellington. To complement the business data presented in the report, the authors engaged contributing authors to prepare a dedicated land resource management chapter.

In explaining why they included the chapter, the authors stated that there are many producers across Australia who put environmental preservation ahead of all else in the pursuit of business performance because of their deep understanding of the relationship. They are unique in many ways relative to some of their peers. They have a superb understanding of botany and plant species, they know how to read the health of their country using lots of visual indicators. Their management of the landscape, through the full spectrum of seasonal variability, ensures the long-term health and productivity of their landscapes. Also, these producers generally have outstanding businesses, with higher and more stable returns than the industry as a whole.

Given the geographic coverage of the beef industry in Australia, and the differences in management between the extensive rangelands and more intensive areas of southern and eastern Australia, the chapter is broken into two parts. Covering the rangelands and northern Australia, are Dionne Walsh from the Northern Territory and Col Paton from Queensland, two of the most experienced and qualified rangeland research and extension practitioners in the country. Bob Freebairn, a highly experienced, independent pasture agronomist from NSW, with a background in the NSW DPI, prepared the section on managing the more intensive areas of southern and eastern Australia.

Their resulting contribution provides a resource for beef producers across Australia and how to effectively manage their natural resource base for both production and preservation. Their understanding of the established science and current research is matched by their practical experience from working on the ground with producers.

The report also includes a Pastoral Panel chapter. In this chapter a group of leading producers provided their responses to a series of questions on how they think, and how they approach decision making, business and life. Their responses are a unique compilation of industry wisdom, and their perspectives on natural resource management are encouragingly consistent with the messages from the guest authors.

The remaining report contains summaries of exhaustive analyses of beef enterprises from across Australia that give strong cues to the key performance indicators of successful beef businesses. Purchasing the report also allows users access to a range of tools and detailed industry data.

There is more information on the Australian Beef Report:2020 Vision at


Note from the Editor: This article has been accepted for publication in this newsletter as it may be of considerable interest to some of our readers.  It should be noted that neither the Newsletter Editor nor the ARS endorses the purchase of the full report.  This should be a decision made entirely by the reader.