Introduction

Australia is the largest exporter of beef in the world. Feeder cattle are steers (castrated male cows) or female cows which are old enough to be placed in a feedlot, where they will be fattened prior to slaughter. Feeder calves are less than 1 year old; feeder yearlings are between 1 and 2 years old.

Characteristics

Feeder Cattle is a term used to describe Cows aged between 1 and 6 months, they are unfit for slaughter until they are older, but are still freely traded. Feeder cattle weight approximately 170-200kg, and can be farmed for slaughter later in life.

History

The beef industry is the largest agricultural enterprise in Australia, and it is the second largest beef exporter, behind Brazil, in the world. The industry gained an advantage after the discovery of BSE (also known as mad cow disease) in Canada, Japan and the United States, as Australia is free of the disease.

Thin calf skins have been used since the early Middle Ages in the preparation of vellum, which was then used in the production of manuscripts and books. The word 'Livestock' comes from Latin, meaning 'head of cattle'. Man has domesticated cattle since the Neolithic Age (Age of Polished Stone), to obtain meat and milk.

Today, it is estimated that Australia has a herd of more than 25 million beef cattle.

Utilities

Feeder cattle is cattle between the age of 1 and 6 months , still unfit for slaughter but is widely traded to producers to age, fatten and slaughter.

Dairy Cattle are intended for rearing cattle with meat production for human consumption. Cattle are kept in small enclosures and fed specific feed. In this type of farming, the meat produced is soft and good quality for consumption. Cattle may also live in a field, and feed on grass. The meat produced by cows who are fed with grass and live on a field is hard, because the cattle develops stronger and more rigid muscles.

Markets

The main beef contracts are traded on the Brazilian Mercantile and Futures Exchange (BM&F), the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).



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