Queensland lotfeeder and supermarket supply contract holder Ken Rigney received the Woolworths 2011 Livestock Supplier of the Year award in a ceremony before about 800 product suppliers held in Sydney on Friday night.
The presentation was made as part of Woolworths’ national supplier awards, involving all lines from grocery to fresh and perishable products.
The night provided a remarkable contrast in winners between international food sector giants like Nestle, which does more than $100 million worth of business with Woolworths each year, down to small family-scale enterprises like the Rigney family.
The Rigneys own and operate Dunnbarr feedlot on their property at Weengallon, near Goondiwindi, supplying a contract for 2500 finished cattle each year, representing a B-double load each fortnight.
The vertically-integrated business breeds about half of the cattle requirement for the Woolworths contract, sourcing other feeder cattle through a local agent. The Rigneys also produce much of their own feedgrain put through the feedlot, and truck the cattle using their own livestock transport.
Having control over all aspects of the supply chain in this way helped deliver in the area of ‘attention to detail’, according to Woolworths national livestock business manager, Brett Thompson.
The Rigneys are one of Woolworths’ smaller grainfed cattle contract holders supplying the company’s northern supply chain, demonstrating that grainfeeding operations of various sizes can perform to a high standard against company specifications.
Unlike larger feedlots employing more sophisticated grain processing systems like steamflaking, Dunnbarr uses a simple dry-rolled grain ration based mostly on white grains.
Mr Rigney said holding a supply contract with the supermarket for the past 22 years had helped insulate against the peaks and troughs evident within the grainfeeding industry.
Placed second in this year’s livestock awards was Glen Peacock, who with his family operates the Gentle Rise feedlot near Dubbo in NSW supplying 75 head/week, with third going to the much larger Elders Killara feedlot near Tamworth.
The result was based on compliance rates against Woolworths’ quality and yield specifications and other criteria for grainfed supermarkets steers and heifers.
The Rigneys were finalists in last year's inaugural national Woolworths supplier awards, and won a similar state-based award about ten years ago.
Last year's national livestock award winner also came from the Goondiwindi/Moree district: Peter Meyer's Wincanah feedlot, closer to Moree.