Northern Beef Development

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

The Northern Beef Development program aims to support the Western Australian northern beef industry to become more profitable, resilient, and sustainable.

The Northern Beef Development program is part of the department’s integrated approach to building a stronger agriculture and food sector in WA’s north to support local job growth and regional economic prosperity.

Northern Beef Development coordinates a program of research and capability building projects to support industry to improve land use, livestock productivity and labour efficiency.

Key projects


Pastoral remote sensing tool
The program has developed a web-based decision support tool, which land managers can now use to make informed, timely management decisions to support sustainable rangeland management. See Pastoral remote sensing information for managers, Western Australia.

Sterile Leucaena
A research project to develop a sterile variety of Leucaena is being led by the Northern Beef Development program. A sterile variety of Leucaena will provide high-value, cost-effective fodder that poses minimal risk to the rangelands environment. This project is co-funded by the MLA Donor Company. See Mosaic agriculture in northern WA.

Pastoral agriculture
A series of field trials have been established in the West Kimberley to investigate on-station irrigated fodder production. Trials are evaluating biomass, feed quality, and cost of inputs of a wide range of agricultural species. The results of this research will also inform policy on balancing agricultural potential with environmental risks. See Mosaic agriculture in northern WA.


Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS)
The Northern Beef Development program is collaborating with stations in the Pilbara, West Kimberley, and East Kimberley to demonstrate:

  1. Managing animal welfare at weaning through use of pain relief products.
  2. The ‘Easy P’ phosphorus supplementation method.

The Producer Demonstrations Sites are co-funded by the MLA Donor Company. See Northern beef research supporting improved animal welfare outcomes.

MLA Northern Breeding Business
Northern Breeding Business (NB2) is a training and mentoring program developed by Meat and Livestock Australia to increase reproductive rates, increase turn-off weights, and improve genetic potential in northern herds.

Northern Beef Development is supporting Kimberley-Pilbara pilot producer groups to take part in NB2. See Northern Breeding Business (NB2).

Genetics and breeding extension program
This program will upskill pastoralists in how to pursue genetic improvement by selecting bulls using breeding values and through breeding program design.

North-south supply chain livestock performance
Northern Beef Development is collaborating with feedlotters to install Growsafe units, which will provide data on cattle performance in feedlots to inform station breeding programs. This project is co-funded by the MLA Donor Company.


Producer Innovation Fast Track Grants program

The Producer Innovation Fast Track (PIFT) Grants aim to accelerate industry adoption of proven, regionally and business relevant research, development, and innovation.

Producers can apply for dollar-matched funding to implement a new technology or practice into their business. 

Applications for the Producer Innovation Fast Track Grants program closed on 15 February 2023. 

Aboriginal Economic Development

The Northern Beef Development team work closely with DPIRD’s Aboriginal Economic Development (AED) team.

15% of WA’s northern pastoral industry workforce identifies as Indigenous, and there are significant opportunities for increased indigenous workforce participation through structured career pathways.

AED coordinates the Aboriginal Pastoral Academy, which provides a supported career path for young Aboriginal people, and a skilled entry-level cohort for the pastoral industry workforce. Participants learn practical skills with cattle and horses, while also learning the foundational skills to be ‘job ready’ to work in the pastoral industry.

AED is engaging with Aboriginal pastoral enterprises to assess and transition to alternative business models including grazing licences, agistments, and sub-leases, to attract investment into the Aboriginal pastoral estate and create job opportunities.

AED is also assisting the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage with the divestment of Aboriginal Lands Trust pastoral stations back into local community ownership.

See Aboriginal Economic Development.

Contact information

Trevor Price
+61 (0)8 9166 4026
Page last updated: Monday, 17 June 2024 - 10:57am