Story Added : 04th May 2011
If you have jumped on the black bandwagon – whether it is producing burgers for those tacky fast food outlets or tapping the lucrative F1 market into Japan – you must be feeling just a little blue right now.
Because suddenly the pendulum seems to be swinging back to Hereford breeders, those kings of all things conservative. Not that they have done anything themselves.
It is the season, it is the export market and it is the unexpected, but high-impact interference from the supermarkets, which has shifted the goal posts.
The good old global financial crisis has also given the Angus industry a kick in the guts.
Demand for pricy product, particularly in the north Asian region, is softening. Which means all those feedlots, with all their eggs in one basket, are having attacks of the vapours.
Poor old Japan, the cornerstone of the Angus export industry, will need food, but is yet to make up its mind what that protein source will be, and where it will come from?
More importantly, what price they will pay for it as the Yanks start to crank up their export activity, with a dollar much cheaper than ours.
There is so much feed in paddocks the Herefords are accidentally coming back into their own. No need for feedlots here, those little red-and-white buggers are stacking on weight before your very eyes.
And it’s a good thing they don’t need to meet the demanding rush for feedlots because Coles won’t have them if there is even a whiff of hormone growth promotants (HGPs). And now more players in the retail trade are lining up behind them.
Grain prices are erratic, but on an upward track. Whoops, more bad news for Angus and their friends in the feedlots. South of the tick line, breeds have come and gone in a bid to dislodge the big two. Without success.
Charolais is the latest to have hit the wall. They were trendy for a while, but hey, so were Simmental.
So, when push comes to shove, only two have stood the test of time.
Angus appeared to be the smart ones. They opted for objective measurement and turned the whole industry upside down. They got aggressive with their marketing and management. Plus they had the feedlots and the markets overseas.
Yet if you stop for a minute and look around, Angus has been marking time for some time. The retail industry is doing its best to drag them along. But the chasers are starting to catch up.
The real trick will be to see if the Herefords, after years of being the show ponies, scratching their collective heads wondering how Angus got past them so fast, have any oomph left in them.
Have they learnt anything? Or, will they puff their chests out and try to take the credit for something else they have little clue about – beyond checking their rain gauges?
Time will tell.