Graziers beef up supply chain knowledge by visiting meatworks and feedlot
Pictured (from left) are Majors Creek horticulture farmers Kelsey and Sonia Hesp.
A group of North Queensland graziers had an opportunity to learn more about the other side of the beef supply chain during a recent visit to JBS Meatworks and Reid River Export Depot.
About 20 landholders from across the region attended the NQ Dry Tropics event, funded through the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
They observed operations, and discussed opportunities and challenges with staff at each facility.
NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Field Officer Ashleigh Kilgannon said the bus tour aimed to equip graziers with information to help them make better business management decisions.
“Gaining a better understanding of the optimal times to send livestock to a meatworks or a feedlot helps build more efficient, resilient operations and helps families stay on farms,” Ms Kilgannon said.
Grazier and CSIRO Research Technician at Lansdown Research Station, Jess Simington, said the event offered a chance to network and gain industry insights.
“Keeping up to date with rules, regulations, anything you can learn is a benefit and helps you see the bigger picture,” Ms Simington said.
“The industry is always changing, and knowledge is power. As graziers, we send cattle to the meatworks but I had never been there, so thanks to NQ Dry Tropics for providing this opportunity.”
Reid River Export Depot Logistics and Administration Manager, Kate Andison, focused on compliance and cattle traceability.
She spoke about measures graziers could take to enable a stress-free experience for cattle in the yards.
“It’s good for producers to come and see what happens to their cattle once they leave their property, and understand the compliance and paperwork requirements at our end,” Ms Andison said.
“Ensuring cattle are properly prepared prior to arrival, including horn tipping and NLIS tagging , means less unnecessary handling and saves us an extra job on a busy day.”
Woodstock grazier Athol Nicolaides, from Glen Kathleen Station, attended with several family members and said it was well worth the effort.
“Instead of having your head down working everyday it’s good to have a look around and see what else is going on — we don’t do enough of that,” Mr Nicolaides said.
“We’re always trying to get the best we can for the cattle, and it was very good to see how they load and process them, how it all fits together.
“I also enjoyed spending time talking with other graziers about different topics, such as weed control, and learning that we face similar issues.”
Grazier Kate Urquhart, from Adelong Station, travelled from Aramac with husband Geoff to attend the tour.
“It’s in our best interest to understand the whole process chain, because we want the best for the livestock and the people at the other end who are receiving our products, Ms Urquhart said.
“It also enables us to explain to others how the beef industry works.”
The event was supported by the Herding Change Through Grassroots Recovery project, and the Landholders Driving Change project, both funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Reid River Export Depot staffer Trent Young (left) with grazier Mark Nicolaides (Glen Kathleen Station).
CSIRO staffers Jenny Stanford (left) and Jess Simington.
Grazier Gerard Lyons (Four Mile) with NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Field Officer Ashleigh Kilgannon.
NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Extension Officer Brad Martin (left) with Trent Young (Reid River Export Depot).
Clare grazier Matthew Woodward (left) chats with grazier Mark Nicolaides (Glen Kathleen).
Grazier and CSIRO employee Jess Simington (left) with NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Field Officer Ashleigh Kilgannon.
Pictured (from left) are Jenny Stanford (CSIRO), Aramac graziers Kate and Geoff Urquhart, (Adelong Station), NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Field Officer Ashleigh Kilgannon, graziers Brian and Athol Nicolaides (Glen Kathleen Station), NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Extension Officer Brad Martin.