Attention to detail and a focus on a relatively narrow band of market end-points were the common hallmarks among three well-performed feedlots which earned the major honours at BeefEx’s Elanco Feedlot of the Year awards presented last night.
Now in their 23rd year, the awards celebrate a commitment to quality management systems and best practice across beef cattle feedlots of all sizes.
The 2014 competition attracted 24 entries in three categories for feedlots greater than 10,000 head capacity, 3000-10,000 head, and less than 3000 head in size.
A rigorous multi-stage judging process was applied, measured against National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme standards. The assessment was based on five key components:
Here’s a summary of this year’s winners:
Japanese owned Macquarie Downs feedlot located near Leyburn in southeast Queensland claimed the division for feedlots with less than 3000 head capacity, at it’s first attempt in the competition.
Macquarie Downs is a specialist longfed Wagyu feedlot, feeding mostly Fullblood high-performance Wagyu cattle out to 450-500 days.
The complement of seven staff look after almost 10,000ha of country including irrigation and dryland farming including grain, hay and forage crops, together with a 700-head Fullblood Wagyu breeding herd.
The feedlot has a license for 4920 Standard Cattle Units, and has a current built capacity of 3000 head.
Runners-up in the less than 3000 head division were the de Bruin family’s Maruya feedlot, a specialist Wagyu feeding enterprise near Mt Gambier in South Australia; and Wilga feedlot, Bellata, NSW.
Andrew and Tess Herbert’s Gundamain feedlot near Eugowra in Central Western NSW was announced as the Elanco Feedlot of the Year winner in the 3000-10,000 head division.
Since opening in 2002 as a small custom-feedyard, the Herbert family has grown capacity to 6000 head, and currently operates at near capacity, feeding for 100-day grainfed and 70-day domestic markets.
Gundamain is operated alongside Ladysmith feedlot, also about 6000 head in size, located about three hours away.
Other finalists in the 3000-10,000 head division included Mort & Co’s Gunnee Feedlot, Delungra, NSW; and the Camm family’s Wonga Plains feedlot, Bowenville, Qld.
Proving that older feedlots can maintain a high level of performance was the winner of the over 10,000 head capacity division, Teys Australia’s Jindalee feedlot near Stockingbal, NSW.
Jindalee is a 17,000 head capacity feedlot specialising in 100-day export cattle, mostly Angus and British breeds, directed through Teys Wagga plant and destined for brand programs including Teys Black Angus, Riverine Premium (marbling score 2+) and Riverine Tendercut, sold through Woolworths.
Other finalists were JBS Beef City, Powranna, Qld; AA Co Goonoo feedlot, Comet, Qld; JBS Mungindi feedlot, Qld; and NH Foods’ Whyalla feedlot, Texas, Qld.