HGP-free future dim for graziers
GYMPIE and District Beef Liaison Group president Gary Lund is worried the beef industry won’t be profitable for graziers in the future if consumer demand for hormone-free steak increases.
“You can bet at the moment where Woolworths aren’t putting on any restrictions, if Coles do a march on their market, they’ll go the same way,” he said.
Supermarket giant Coles recently announced it would only sell HGP-free beef and start phasing the rest out from January next year. Coles also said it would absorb any extra production costs.
HGP is a productivity tool that helps cattle to convert feed, it also reduces he amount of fat cattle have.
Mr Lund said dropping HGP meant producing beef cattle wouldn’t be profitable for some farmers.
“As they will be feeding their cattle the same amount their profit margins will go right down. In these days of high grain prices and not-so-good cattle prices, HGP can mean the difference,” he said.
Australian Meat Industry Council chair Terry Nolan has said he thought the move to sell only HGP free beef was a clever marketing ploy.
“The Australian beef produce sector already produces the best and cleanest beef in the world,” he said.
Nationally local graziers would lose $210 million annually from their bottom lines without the use of HGP when they were already struggling, he said. “Weights of cattle will reduce, or farmers will have to keep them longer to achieve the same weights.”
Mr Nolan said there was ample evidence to suggest one egg held the same amount of hormones as 77 kg of beef, 100g of cabbage had the same amount of naturally occurring hormones as 200kg of beef and drinking one pot of beer would give you the same amount of hormones as 46 of beef.
“If people are serious they should cut down on beer, cabbage or eggs,” he said.
“There is no scientific evidence to suggest hormones in beef are unsafe and Coles comments on TV support that, however, this move has created a perception there is.”