Location: North Star, NSW.
Operating capacity: 20,000 head
2014 cattle turnover: 60,000 head
2003 Top 25 Lotfeeders position: 8
MYOLA feedlot was built by a consortium of local northern NSW cotton and grain farmers and Sydney investors in 1993.
Moree grain and cotton farmers, James and Andrea Mulligan and family, one of the major original investors, now own the business outright.
Historically, Myola feedlot’s heavy reliance on custom-feeding exposed it to the ebbs and flows in demand for feedlot space, caused by seasonal conditions. However a greater emphasis now in longer-term ‘program’ type custom-feeding relationships, rather than casual ‘spot feeding’ work, has been a significant and successful strategy.
Myola was always intended primarily as a custom-feedyard, and underwent a series of expansions from around 2001 when it was at 5000 head to its current capacity of 20,000 head.
The effects of the recent drought, firstly in Queensland and then NSW have added to the capacity pressure on Myola. The biggest proportion of custom-fed cattle tend to come from NSW, but when circumstances and seasons dictate, it’s not uncommon to see Queensland cattle in the pens.
With Elders’ Killara feedlot taking on more principal positions in their cattle, Myola is now clearly the largest custom-feed service-provider in NSW.
The feedlot itself holds a Coles contract for supply of a B-double each fortnight of trade heifers to Australian Country Choice in Brisbane and the rest of the pens are occupied with custom-feeding clients’ cattle. Another regular custom-feeding client also holds a supermarket supply contract.
Major feeder clients include supply chains like James Maclean’s Allied Beef program, and end-users with grainfed branded beef programs including several large beef processors.
While the proportions change a little over time, currently the greatest proportion of custom-fed cattle are 70-day steers and heifers, with fewer cattle destined for export programs.
The focus on building relationships with dedicated supply chains to deliver ‘program’ type custom-feeding, as opposed to relying solely on ‘spot market’ feeding has paid off for Myola, allowing it to avoid some of the inevitable occupancy peaks and troughs that custom feedyards historically tended to be exposed to.
“It’s about building that surety of supply, week-in, week-out, that the branded beef business delivers, that underpins our business these days,” feedlot manager Jeff Dight said.
A new feedmill (a whopping big Ferrell Ross 24” x 56” unit was installed about six years ago. Myola has always used steamflaking for grain processing due to its improved digestibility and resultant cattle performance.
The surrounding farming country grows silage and roughage to meet some of the feedlot’s requirements, with the balance sourced from the surrounding area. Cropping internally this year included both an annual summer and winter program. Silage production this year exceeded 8000 tonnes including summer silage of irrigated corn and winter silage of barley and wheat – a recipe which has proven very successful over the past couple of years.
The yard features shade access in all pens, with first pens covered way back in the late 1990s. Both shadecloth and corrugated iron-based shade systems are used.
Convenient access to grain, cottonseed and other feedstuffs is one of Myola’s biggest competitive advantages, followed by good access to a wide range of NSW/Qld abattoirs chasing grainfed cattle.
Feed and inventory management aids like Digi-Star, FY3000, and Stockaid have all contributed to the operational efficiency and reporting systems used by the yard.
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