Northern Beef Futures

The Department of Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development's Northern Beef Futures (NBF) project is supported by the State Government's Royalties for Regions program, to transform Western Australia’s northern beef industry through market diversity and improved business models, and integrated supply chains.


Northern Beef Futures (NBF) is an export supply chain-focused, market-driven project delivered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) .

The project is focused on enabling the WA beef industry to boost capabilities, build value and strengthen relationships within new and existing supply chains and diversify and align products to suit new and expanding markets identified by NBF.

NBF commenced in August 2014 and is designed to:

  • increase the value of production from the Pilbara and Kimberley beef industry
  • reduce reliance on current markets, through the establishment of alternate, economically viable export markets for beef and live cattle
  • boost employment in the northern cattle industry by increasing profitability.

What's new?

Mosaic agriculture field walk - Pasture and fodder trials for beef production

Wednesday 6 September 2017, 10am to 12pm

Irrigators, pastoralists, agribusinesses and consultants are invited to a mosaic agriculture field walk in Broome to discuss DPIRD pasture and fodder trials for beef production.

Irrigators, pastoralists, agribusinesses and consultants are invited to a mosaic agriculture field walk in Broome to discuss DPIRD pasture and fodder trials for beef production.

The department's Northern Beef Futures project invites pastoralists irrigating or considering irrigation, as well as agribusinesses and consultants to a field walk held by the project's Mosaic Agriculture team at its pasture and fodder trials at the Water Corporation's North Broome site.

Participants will hear about department research trials being conducted at the site on:
• novel crops including quinoa, forage rape and turnip
• temperate grasses and crops (ryegrass, oats, and barley)
• tropical and temperate legumes (including lucerne)
• simulated grazing trial on Rhodes grass, and 
• warm season perennial and annual grasses.  

The field walk will be held at the Water Corporation site located on Crab Creek Road (near 12 Mile) in North Broome.

More information

Trevor Price, Productivity and Profitability Manager, Northern Beef Futures project, Broome, +61 (0)437 826 003


1 September 2017 to

Other activities:

Backgrounding beef for benefit

The Northern Beef Futures (NBF) project is collaborating with industry groups to evaluate returns from the value-added beef method of backgrounding cattle. Backgrounding in WA's Agricultural region improves marketing and finishing opportunities, providing improved access to live export markets and provides opportunities for grain producers in the south of the State to feedlot cattle for entry into southern domestic processors.  DPIRD Market Analyst Roger Verbrugge discussed gross margins for backgrounding cattle and various sheep enterprises at an event hosted by West Midlands Group on "Unravelling the economics of beef backgrounding" in February 2017.

Keep up-to-date with the latest project news and information by subscribing to NBF newsletter.  

Key activities

New markets and supply chains

Export market growth is one of the drivers of beneficial change throughout the supply chain, which leads to increased business performance, confidence and industry value.

We are supporting the creation of new supply chains by broadening products, production systems and markets, and employing a market-pull approach to enable the WA beef industry to fulfil potential new export markets identified by NBF, including:

  • commercial breeder exports to ASEAN markets
  • live exports of feeder and slaughter cattle to a range of ASEAN markets and China
  • boxed beef exports to China
  • off-shore processing of slaughter-ready cattle
  • other emerging strategic target market opportunities.

NBF is also identifying new supply chain business models and supporting mechanisms that will provide new diversified market opportunities for northern beef in China and the ASEAN region.

Value growth & innovation in the beef industry supply chain

The Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development (DPIRD) commissioned a study to identify critical success factors from a number of global and domestic agrifood industry growth models that could contribute to international export competitiveness and grow the value and long-term sustainability of WA’s northern beef industry.

The study 'Value Growth & Innovation in the Beef Industry' supply chain was presented at the Kimberley Economic Forum on 1 November 2016 and outlined four high-level WA beef supply chain scenarios for consideration by WA’s northern beef supply chain and investors.

Target market:  China

DPIRD has agreements with key provincial governments in China, and support is being provided from the WA Trade & Investment Office in Shanghai to assist and facilitate export.

The NBF project team is working to develop exports of live cattle and boxed beef from Western Australia, and a study profiling Chinese investment into the Australian agribusiness sector is underway.

We are engaged in supply chain mapping and modelling of the various components of the live export and boxed beef value chains through to China as part of a study that will provide greater transparency and understanding of the value chain.

In April 2016, we hosted a delegation who took a closer look at WA's cattle production and export potential, with a view to importing boxed beef, and feeder and slaughter cattle from our State.  We also hosted delegations in September 2016.

We continue to provide links between members of the WA supply chain and commercial interests in China and industry information to assist Chinese business and provincial governments interested in developing this trade.

Target market:  Thailand

Northern Beef Futures officers with staff from the Thailand Board of Investment.

To capitalise on Thailand’s respected global reputation for food processing, packaging and distribution, a prefeasibility study to consider new and innovative supply chains for WA cattle and boxed beef in one or more of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Thailand has been completed.

The summary 'New and Innovative Beef Supply Chains in Thailand' considers the potential industry benefits of  diverting existing live export cattle into a dedicated supply chain featuring leading technology and best management practice.  The report is available in English and Thai language versions.

We are conducting a review of the potential supply of ‘productive heifers’ from northern WA to target markets in Indonesia and Thailand for the purpose of cattle breeding projects, and a trial consignment is being investigated. The's NBF project is engaging with proprietory companies and government agencies to implement these projects.

In Thailand, we are implementing the framework to undertake a feeder/slaughter pilot project to determine the performance of various genetic compositions of WA cattle in the Thailand feedlot industry.

This project will improve our understanding of WA cattle performance in the Thailand feedlot sector and lead to more objective selection of cattle best suited for  conditions in that country.

The NBF project is continuing work with the Thailand government and Board of Investment to consider innovative market opportunities and supply chains for the marketing and distribution of beef and beef co-products in Thailand and the greater ASEAN region.

Target Market:  Vietnam

In Vietnam, we are working with significant enterprises to consider the export of commercial heifers for genetic improvement and to rebuild commercial breeder herds.

We are working with commercial interests seeking diversified production models and key importers of WA cattle to improve after-sales service, ensuring support for a significant new feedlot and abattoir development as part of an integrated supply chain in Vietnam.

We conducted site visits in Vietnam to progress integrated supply chains, and in December 2015 participated in a regional workshop in Vietnam on Beef Markets and Trade in South-East Asia and China.

This provided NBF with specific local market information, situation analyses and critical issues for the beef cattle markets and trade flows within the South East Asia and China region, assisting us to work with industry to identify market and specific product opportunities in the region.

DPIRD's NBF project team, with the support of the WA beef industry, is working on the development of a new market and supply chain assessment tool to evaluate the potential of emerging live export markets. This will provide a needs-based assessment of the requirements of potential new markets to implement approved supply chains.


Contact information

Mark Ritchie
+61 (0)8 9780 6263
Page last updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2017 - 8:46am


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