Bondfields step back from operations management at Palgrove

Jon Condon, 12/03/2020

TWO of Australia’s best known seedstock breeders, David and Prue Bondfield, have announced plans to step back from day-to-day operations management of their Palgrove genetics business, in what is being described as a ‘positive transition from family-scale into corporate business.’

The Bondfields have ranked among Australia’s best known seedstock producers over the past 30 years, through their Palgrove Charolais, and more recently, Ultrablack and Brangus breeding programs.

David and Prue Bondfield

Two and a half years ago the pair undertook a joint venture with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund which has seen the business treble in size, despite the impacts of recent drought.

Today’s Palgrove business holds significant land assets across Queensland and NSW, from Emerald in the North to the Riverina in the south.

The Bondfields’ commitment to see the business continue to grow, has led to their decision to step back from daily operations. Both will remain as directors of the Palgrove company. Staff and key stakeholders were informed of the decision over the past few hours.

Mr Bondfield said well-planned business succession was critical to the success of any innovative enterprise. He said it was a good time to step back, following the big turnaround in seasonal conditions and sharp lift in cattle prices. While drought had set-back the business’s commercial cattle operations significantly, the stud breeding division had come out of the drought much better than expected.

“Our generationally-proven genetics will continue to play a key role in the future growth – this is just the next step in that process,” he said.

For the company’s seedstock clients, it will be ‘business as usual’, with genetics and business development manager Ben Noller now well-established at Palgrove, to drive the breeding and sales program into the future.

Mr Bondfield will retain his governance responsibilities and remain as chief executive officer until the vacancy is filled later this year. He will continue to provide advisory support to the business.

A joint venture partnership formed in 2017 with the NZSF gave the Palgrove business the capacity to grow cattle numbers to meet increasing demand, and to leverage its quality genetics into the company’s own premium commercial beef production systems.

NZSF portfolio manager Neil Woods said their confidence in the Palgrove business and the Australian beef sector remained strong, and looked forward to continuing to invest in growing the business.

Mr Bondfield confirmed his support of the Palgrove management team and staff as he transitions to a governance role and said he was confident in their capacity and commitment to drive the business forward.

“Our family farming/corporate joint venture with NZSF has created a highly efficient model for the business to achieve its production and growth strategies,” he said. “Continuing to build scale has been a challenge during the drought, but we see enormous opportunity for the business to meet its growth objectives in 2020,” Mr Bondfield said.

Palgrove Management Pty Ltd board chair Leith Boully said the Bondfields had built a successful livestock business by focusing on quality livestock, property management, staff relationships and by responding to their clients’ needs.

“The value David has created around relationships is a key element to the business’s success, and the Board wants to build on what he has done by introducing a new CEO with similar personal qualities and commitment to clients,” Ms Boully said.

“Fortunately, we are not losing his knowledge, insight and relationships,” she said.

Palgrove continues to hold two bull sales each year at Scone, NSW and Dalveen in southern Queensland, and conducts significant paddock sales and contract breeding operations.

  • A recruitment process is now underway through Rimfire Resources to appoint a new CEO who will lead the Palgrove business into its next phase of expansion. Keep a look-out for the job listing on Beef Central’s popular recruitment platform, Jobs Central.






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