THE 2018 Young Lot Feeder of the Year Ben Attewell knows all about responsibility. At any given time the 27 year old has tens of million dollars of cattle under his direct care as the manager of Australian Country Choice’s 22,000 head Brindley Feedlot at Roma.
On Tuesday night Ben joined an illustrious list of industry achievers (see below) when he was named the 2018 Australian Lot Feeders Association’s Young Lot Feeder of the Year.
The award, sponsored by Performance Feeds, is designed to encourage emerging feedlot industry employees to contribute their ideas and vision for lot feeding at a national level.
Ben based his entry on a call for the industry to adopt a universal standard to overcome the costs of induction shrink.
“It is something I don’t think we measure well in our industry, especially in cattle that are close to home, I don’t think we have a good grasp on it at all,” he told Beef Central.
“If we buy cattle that aren’t correctly shrunk what we’re paying for is gut fill and urine at whatever rate we buy them, and then we don’t have an accurate start weight to start your animal on, which means we can’t determine a correct ADG (Average Daily Gain) and accurate cost of gain.
“So you buy that animal at say 400kg, and you run him through the shed and at induction he is actually 380kg, he has to put those 20kg on before you are back to where you started.”
Ben said he believes the industry needs to adopt a universal standard to ensure cattle are correctly curfewed and a correct induction weight is determined.
Ben grew up on his parent’s cattle property near Casino in New South Wales. He said he always wanted to work in the cattle industry but it was only when he successfully applied for a position as a pen rider at AACo’s Goonoo Feedlot in Central Queensland that he developed a strong interest in the intensive cattle feeding industry.
After 10 years at Goonoo he accepted a job with Australian Country Choice three years ago, and is now manager of the company’s Brindley Park Feedlot.
“I like the intensity of it (working in the feedlot industry), the impact you can have today, you can measure it tomorrow, you don’ have to wait,” he said.
Ben is one of the very few entrants to have won the Young Lot Feeder of the Year award in his first year of applying.
“It is something I always wanted to go in, but something I probably never thought I had the time to go in though,” he said.
“But this year we just made a point of going in it, I have always thought it is a very prestigious award and something I thought I would like to win, but I certainly didn’t expect to in the first year.”
Mr Attewell’s fellow grand finalists in the competition were Fiona McDiarmid from Terence Vale Feedlot at Theodore and Georgia Birch from Smithfield Cattle Company at Proston.
The Three Grand Finalists were invited to present their industry issue topic at the BeefEx conference in Brisbane this week.
The Award has been running continuously since 1994, with many former winners now recognised leaders in the Australian feedlot industry:
1994 – Warren Salter, Sandalwood
1995 – Roger Matthews, Myola
1996 – Michael Doyle, Beef City
1997 – Greg Gibbons, Aronui
1998 – Jason Shearer-Smith, Smithfield
1999 – Stephen Reynolds, Charlton Feedlot
2000 – Grant Garey, Jindalee Feedlot
2001 – Troy Setter, Killara
2002 – Gina Lincoln, Peechelba
2003 – Andrew Rushford, Miamba
2004 – Geoff Cornford, Wainui
2005 – Scott McDouall, Charlton Feedlot
2006 – Shane Bullock, Jindalee Feedlot
2007 – Briana Daly, Charlton Feedlot
2008 – Will McCrohon, JBS Australia – Prime City Feedlot
2009 – Matt Luhrs, JBS Australia – Mungindi Feedlot
2010 – David Maconochie, Hopkins River
2011 – Nick Chambers, JBS Austalia – Riverina Beef
2012 – Jordan Peach, Mort & Co – Grassdale Feedlot
2013 – Stephen Martin, Elders – Killara Feedlot
2014 – Emily Perkins, JBS – Prime City
2015 – Andrew Slack, Smithfield Cattle Company
2016 – Emily Pollock, Mort & Co – Gunnee Feedlot
2017 – Thomas Green, Iranda Feedlot
2018 – Ben Attewell ACC – Brindley Park Feedlot