Production

Palgrove’s David and Prue Bondfield named Aust livestock producers of the year

Beef Central, 28/09/2015
David and Prue Bondfield

David and Prue Bondfield

Breeding in multiple locations to adapt their genetics to the environmental conditions of their commercial clients has helped Queensland livestock producers David and Prue Bondfield to earn a major Australian agricultural award.

The Bondfields, principals of the Palgrove Charolais, Charbray and Ultrablack Stud, were recently named the 2015 Australian Livestock Producers of the Year Award at the Kondinin-ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Awards in Sydney.

Palgrove is a family-run seedstock and commercial cattle enterprise which sells up to 1000 Charolais, Charbray and Ultrablack bulls annually across Australia, and also exports bulls and genetics to several overseas markets.

The Bondfield’s operation started with one family property at Dalveen near Warwick. As their seedstock client base has expanded into northern Australia they have strategically purchased additional breeding properties to replicate their clients’ environmental conditions, and to ensure the performance of their genetics in those regions.

In addition to Warwick, they now also have breeding properties at Emerald in Central Queensland, Miles in South Western Queensland and Glen Innes in northern New South Wales.

Operating a single enterprise with multi-locations has several challenges, such as meeting the specific requirements of heat and tick tolerance further north. This challenge has been met with genetic selection to produce sleeker haired cattle and through the development of their Angus-based Ultrablack herd to produce cattle with superior meat quality that can live in the north and finish on limited nutrition.

The Bondfields say the diverse property locations have enabled them to make a more reliable assessment of the performance of their genetics under both favourable and adverse conditions.

They have addressed the communication issues of running a multi-site operation through the introduction of a centralised cloud-based management system, through which staff have round the clock access to continuously updated farm data.

Awards sponsor and spokesperson John Snowball from WFI said the Bondfields satisfied three key areas: a focus on animal welfare, sustainability, and a passion for community.

“They were focused on animal welfare and the long-term health of their herd; they had a real balance around sustainability, and the commercial components within their business had allowed them to be sustainable into the future,” Mr Snowball said.

“They also are heavily involved in the community, and not just their industry, but the broader community where they live.

“They add value everywhere and what impressed me across all the finalists was a consistent thread that tied it together – they weren’t one hit wonders but consistent across all aspects.”

David and Prue said they believe seedstock producers have a role to play in ensuring that their commercial clients have the opportunity to collectively market and strengthen their position as sellers.

“We believe that the beef industry is at a crossroads where the profitability of family farming enterprises in the future will depend on the ability to produce consistent quality products and market them in a more collective and strategic way to ensure added value beyond the farm gate.

“Australian can’t afford to take a ‘commodity approach’ to its agricultural products with the cost of production relatively high compared to competitors.

“Marketing with scale has always produced better outcomes where profits are more likely to be shared equitably across all sectors of the industry.”

 

 

 

 

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