Midfield’s McKenna family secures SA’s Wanderribby feedlot

Jon Condon, 29/09/2021

Wanderribby feedlot near Meningie in South Australia’s upper southeast, has capacity for 8000 head, but potential for expansion

MIDFIELD Meat Group’s McKenna family has purchased the Wanderribby feedlot and surrounding grazing and faming property in South Australia’s Upper Southeast.

The feedlot was originally placed on the market back in 2017 by vendors, the Gunner family, with price expectations at the time of between $9 million and $10 million. It went close to selling to Chinese/Australian interests in 2018, but the deal fell through, due to ‘regulatory issues.’

New owners, the McKenna group, take possession in November.

Wanderribby has been used principally as a custom feedyard in recent years, feeding for three main clients, including Coles and Woolworths supermarket contracts at different times. Most cattle are fed for 60-70 day domestic grainfed programs, using high quality British genetics, including some EU grainfed programs. The yard has also been utilised in the past as a live export depot.

Brett McKenna, who is based in South Australia managing his family’s livestock operations, told Beef Central it would be ‘business as usual’ once ownership was transferred, and the Wanderribby yard would continue to service custom-feeeding clients, as well as feeding cattle for Midfield’s own needs.

“We’d invite inquiries from other custom-feeding clients,” he said.

Current feedlot manager Ron Nankivell will continue in his current role.

Wanderribby is regarded as South Australia’s third largest feedlot, behind TFI’s Iranda Beef yard neat Tintinara, and the Rowe family’s Princess Royal yard near Burra, both around 18,000 head in capacity.

Located 7km south of The Lakes and Coorong township of Meningie, the 2311ha Wanderribby property was purchased by the Gunner family in 1990, with feedlot construction starting five years later.

Additional infrastructure saw the yard grow to its current capacity of 8000 Standard Cattle Units, but there is further room for expansion. The earlier prospective Chinese/Australian investor had planned significant development including doubling the capacity of the yard and installing advanced grain processing infrastructure for better grain utilisation.

Wanderribby at one point fed for the Gunner family’s award winning MSA-backed Coorong Angus Beef program, supplying the Richard Gunner Fine Meats wholesale business, which went into administration in 2019, during a period of tough trading conditions.

In addition to the feedlot infrastructure, Wanderribby includes large areas used for lucerne and forage production and backgrounding. About 1000ha of country is typically established to lucerne, with a similar area of native and improved pasture.

The yard is located in an area of abundant grain and cattle supply, sitting in a large catchment area for high quality cattle coming out of the southeast of SA and Victoria’s western district, with favourable climatic conditions for feedlot operations. The feedlot is about five hours’ drive from Midfield’s export abattoir at Warrnambool.

The agricultural arm of the McKennas’ Midfield business, Midfield Pastoral, incorporates a range of properties, mostly located in the south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia.

Holdings total more than 7200ha covering dairy, calf rearing and beef and lamb farming operations. They provide essential support roles for the Warrnambool meat processing plant. The group holds dairy interests near Meningie, not far from the newly acquired Wanderribby feedlot, and the UDC milk processing factory at Penola.





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  1. Jack Clancy, 01/10/2021

    Although the Victorian China-mesmerised premier’s duplicity in furthering the ‘belt and road’ strategy of Chienese expansionism was recently exposed, I doubt the ‘average Australian’ knows the lengths to which we have been exposed to Chinese control here and in Antarctica. The ‘free trade’ agreement was a foolhardy action and business lobby/government delusion.

    The article above tells us “The earlier prospective Chinese/Australian investor had planned significant development including doubling the capacity of the yard and installing advanced grain processing infrastructure for better grain utilisation.”….That is a deplorable goal particularly in ignoring the sort of life social animals deserve and a concoction which will add to global warming. Price inflation of our properties by Chinese billionaires and government encourages overuse and misuse.

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