Cattle Farming in Australia
As mentioned above, cattle or beef farming in Australia carries with it many of the same problems and challenges associated with sheep farming. From a lack of water to an excess of water, it seems that beef farming can prove just as overwhelming as sheep farming. Despite the problems associated with cattle farming, however, many farmers believe that the seclusion of Australia from foreign disease coupled with the plentiful grasslands that exist in New South Wales has made beef farming more profitable and “healthier” than in countries such as the United Kingdom.
To illustrate this point consider that most beef herds in the United Kingdom are fed based on feedlots. Essentially, the extraneous parts of slaughtered cows—such as the brains and entrails—are ground up and fed to fatten more cows for slaughtering. When this practices is utilized, the risk of mad cow disease increases exponentially. Because the disease is transmitted through infected cows, beef cattle that are raised eating only grass do not run the risk of catching the disease. Further, the housing of cattle in the United Kingdom keeps cows standing flank-to-flank in muddy surroundings; an environment which has proven to be a breeding ground for hoof-and-mouth disease. In Australia, most cattle farms are in excess of 5,000 square miles and cattle are not contained in pens where hoof-and-mouth can proliferate.
Challenges of Cattle Farming
Adding to the challenges of cattle farming is the reality that a considerable portion of the herd is given up each year for slaughtering. Unlike sheep farming, which produce fleece every year, cows must be slaughtered in order to reap profit. Therefore, for the farmer, finding a balance between rearing and slaughtering becomes quintessential top the financial success of a cattle farm. For instance, if a farmer estimate that 1,000 cows are to be slaughtered—with the expectation that an equal number of calves are to be reared that year—and the number of calves reared falls significantly below 1,000 due to disease or a poor breading season, it can take a farmer up to five years to stabilize the difference.