After a sustained and widespread drought across vast areas of the country we are fortunate to have received over 800mls of rainfall at Laurel View in the last month. This has led to new pasture surging out of the ground and a sense of optimism that being surrounded by green pastures brings.
Last year our livestock numbers were at an all-time low, I think the images below really bring to life how we were struggling compared to today. Our situation was echoed around Australia (for many it is still a reality) and meant that farmers had no choice but to sell and significantly reduce their herds.
This recent period of quality rain, however, has meant that many of us are now returning to the sales to restock depleted herds in droves. What’s more, we have an abundance of grasses throughout the farm, and the great thing about this rocketing grass and feed is that there is more variety, which in turn will lead to wonderful flavours in our beef and lamb.
Of course, I am already struck by the hike in livestock prices. I believe this is not just a trend and that the price increase is here to stay as farmers rush to capitalise on the recent reprieve and bring their businesses out of ‘maintain and survive’ mode.
Prices are certainly higher than they have ever been, and it is a concern for me that this rush to re-stock, combined with increased export markets for quality Australian meat, as well as ongoing regulation and insurance costs will quickly lead to an increase in the cost of meat. The impact will be felt by consumers who will likely see a rise in the costs impacting the family food budget.
How can we support our farmers and help ourselves?
The importance of buying local produce and making sustainable food choices cannot be underestimated in my opinion. Nor can having a good relationship with your Butcher! Along with offering advice on cheaper cuts, for example, that may go further for your family, your Butcher can also reduce portion sizes of quality grass-fed meat to ensure the health benefits to you are still affordable.
The perception by many is that supermarket meat is cheaper and to some extent this is true. But by going to a Butcher, customers get access to (yes, I’ll I say it) much higher quality meat. We certainly always run specials at our Butchers shops to help customers to save.
Another option to ride out uncertainty is to buy in bulk – if you can store your meat, it’s is a great way to plan ahead for your family for a month or more. Going to the Butcher can give you insider knowledge where you can learn about some of the more underrated cuts and how to cook them.
Our family farm and Butchers’ shops are known widely in the Highlands and we love our meat. I’m proud to say that the taste difference you experience with Maugers Meats can be attributed to the lives led by the animals at Laurel View Farm.
100% grass fed
Our cattle and sheep graze freely on pasture throughout their lives. And by pasture we mean pasture: 300 acres in the Robertson hills. The livestock roam across extensive areas of grass and vegetation with plenty of access to water and shade. We regularly rotate pastures to allow for soil and land generation and the ability to build up extra feed for the winter months.
Now, and in the coming months there’s never been a better time to buy grass-fed beef and lamb. The abundance of grass will lead to wonderful flavours in the meat. So, let’s stick together – buy local, support your farmer, know your Butcher and love your community.
Thank you for your support,
If you want to find out more about farming at Laurel View as well as butchery and what makes us different, why not come to one of our monthly Paddock to Plate tours. Find out more.