HASSAD Australia is changing its focus from fat tail sheep to prime lamb production with the help of an MLA Donor Company project.
The Qatar-owned company is one of Australia’s biggest lamb producers, with more than 80,000 ewes joined this year.
Hassad Australia and MDC recently commenced a collaborative co-innovation project to conduct research aimed at increasing value within the lamb supply chain.
Hassad Australia said it is also one of the country’s largest non-packer exporters of lamb, with over 500,000 head exported in the last 12 months. The company owns and operates 152,000 hectares across nine farms in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The company also has a meat-marketing division and a newly-formed grain-trading division which will focus on specialty grains and pulses.
Hassad’s general manager of meat marketing Rob Salmon said the MDC project will enable the company to move away from a pure commodity market and build stronger relationships with retailers and consumers in high-value export markets.
From Awassis to prime lamb
Hassad Australia said its change in direction follows a recent strategic review which led to the divestment of a number of non-strategic assets, including the sale of five farms and the dispersal of the Awassi fat-tail sheep breeding program.
The MDC project followed Hassad’s recent appointment of Dr Andrew Kennedy as general manager, lamb value chain. Dr Kennedy is an expert in alternative lambing systems and improving the efficiency and profitability of sheep production, Hassad said.
Dr Kennedy said the aim of the project is to reward lamb producers for delivering a product that meet consumer needs in terms of eating quality, retail meat yield and other non-tangible attributes such as animal welfare and a low-carbon footprint.
“In the present market, payment is made almost entirely on weight with very little consideration given to other attributes.
“This is a source of constant discontent for better producers and for consumers who are increasingly seeking out quality product from suppliers who take a more holistic approach to the entire delivery chain,” Dr Kennedy said.
Hassad chief executive officer John McKillop said that initially the project will focus on developing the lamb supply chain within the company’s own flock, but with the intention of expanding the supply to other producers once the model is refined.
“Through this project, we are seeking to develop a premium, farm-assured lamb product focused on niche export markets that takes into account the increasingly sophisticated and demanding approach of consumers,” he said.
“The project demonstrates Hassad’s continued commitment to Australian agriculture and to developing supply chains that will improve returns for the broader industry.”
MDC’s business development manager, Josh Whelan, said the donor company is excited to be partnering with Hassad through its Collaborative Co-innovation program, which is designed to support Australian red meat value chains fast-track their innovation and growth strategies.