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Premium markets are expanding worldwide for certified organic and biodynamic beef products – those grown in accordance with recognised organic production and processing standards.
Many agricultural areas in Australia have the potential to produce organic beef, and several Western Australian and Eastern States organic producers are already exporting to Japan. Supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths have started to build the Australian domestic market.
Converting to an organic system can be easier - requiring fewer changes - in ‘low input’ rangeland cattle production than in more intensive pasture-based or feedlot production. But regardless of the type of enterprise, managing organic production is different to conventional, involving much more than simply not using synthetic chemicals and fertilisers.
Organic farming systems are typically mixed operations, so cattle production can also include sheep and cropping as important, integrated components of the whole farming system. Crops and pastures are rotated and rested to replenish soils, and to control animal parasites.
In organic production, prophylactic chemical treatments and vaccinations are avoided, animal and plant health is built from increased soil fertility, animal welfare is paramount, and the long term aim is towards a closed system with minimal external inputs.
Number of Pages
Cattle farming, Beef cattle, Organic farming, Markets, Certification, Farming systems, Australia
Agriculture | Animal Sciences
McCoy, S. (2002), Organic beef a production guide. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, Perth. Bulletin 4518.