Martin Gooch of the Value Chain Management Institute has released a report on the traceability system in Australia and says Ontario’s beef industry could profit by implementing some of the ideas.
The key is going beyond simply identifying cattle and capturing information right to the retail level and using it to improve genetics, management, processing and marketing.
In Australia there’s a national system that requires farmers to keep track of the movement of cattle from birth to market.
That’s similar to the mandatory system in Canada.
There’s opportunity for a second tier at the state level in Australia and some are using it to capture information along the marketing chain.
Gooch says Ontario could do this and profit by showing customers that the industry here can deliver what they want.
There’s a significant opportunity to profit now from the trade deal with Europe that opens a new market for Canadian beef.
The Europeans are going to want a traceability system that enables them to track an animal back to the time and place where it was born.
“The lessons learned in Australia demonstrate that there is opportunity for Ontario to differentiate itself from other jurisdictions by implementing full chain traceability,” says Richard Horne, manager of policy and issues for the Beef Farmers of Ontario.
Gooch says “the cost of establishing and maintaining an effective traceability system need not be prohibitive or penalize one level of the value chain in favour of another.
“To be sustainable and effective, traceability systems must be designed from a management perspective, with the entire chain contributing financially to its operation and evolution,” Gooch says.
The Australians set out clear terms so everyone involved in the system knows what’s expected of them, knows who pays how much and can tap into the data base.
The system is managed by an independent body.
Among those who can look at the data are researchers and government departments.
In the case study that is outlined in the report released this week, a farmer tells how he is using the information to improve his breeding and management to deliver the market cattle that are most desirable and profitable.
Gooch has often told farmers that a good value chain management system will yield benefits for everybody involved, farmers, packers, supermarkets, restaurant chains, etc. it’s not one sector benefiting at the expense of another, but everyone sharing gains.
The aim is to improve efficiencies and profitability by delivering products consumers prefer.