A focus on developing a 100-day grainfed supply chain and cattle backgrounding operation is proving a profitable decision for Pakaderinga Feedlot in southern Queensland.
Situated 20 kilometres north of Kingaroy, the feedlot has been owned and operated by the Brown family for almost 40 years.
“We made the choice to move towards feeding cattle for 100-days of grain finishing an selling them into the export market about four years ago,” Pakaderinga Feedlot owner Graem Brown said.
The operation feeds both their own home bred cattle plus purchases feeder weight steers between 450kg to 550kg for feedlot induction and lighter weight steers for backgrounding.
Mr Brown’s son, Lachy, said the family plans to expand their backgrounding operation in the future as it greatly improvements cattle health once on feed and overall feedlot cattle weight gains.
On average Pakaderinga Feedlot has 4000 head of steers on feed, which are mainly for the 100-day grainfed export market, plus a smaller number of cattle on feed for the supermarket domestic trade for a local private client who’s been custom feeding at Pakaderinga for almost 25 years.
Mr Brown’s daughter, Emma, said the feedlot would like to grow their backgrounding operation and purchase more cattle to feed a ration in the paddock before bringing them into the feedlot.
“We don’t plan to expand the feedlot anymore at this stage, but the backgrounding operation allows us to grow cattle to feeder weight and improve cattle health on feed,” Emma said.
“We feed both HGP and HGP-free steers at an average weight of 450kg for 100-days for the export beef market,” Mr Brown said.
“We have 100-day export prime cattle supply contracts with meat processors.”
“With our feedlot operation concentrated on the 100-day grainfed market over the last four years, the volatility of the business has leveled out.
“We previously custom feed cattle for clients, but focusing on feeding our own cattle and purchasing suitable feeder weight steers has produced a more stable business.
Mr Brown added during custom feeding the feedlot would be full then as demand declined numerous feed pens would not be utilised for several months.
“We’ve taken out the ups and downs with moving towards 100-day grainfed cattle and owning or purchasing the vast major of cattle in our feedlot,” Mr Brown said.
A key area in achieving success in developing the 100-day grainfed cattle supply chain was building good relationships with other producers to source suitable feedlot cattle.
“We hope to continue building relationships with cattle producers for continual supply of heavy feeder weight cattle,” Mr Brown said.
“A lot of producers are selling cattle younger these days and it’s getting harder to source heavier weight feeder sorts, plus suitable cattle availability has always depended on the seasonal conditions as well.”
The feedlot is located on a 730 hectare property called Pakaderinga and the Brown family currently agists some backgrounding cattle on nearby properties.
Another successful business decision at Pakaderinga Feedlot was purchasing a 125 hectare irrigation property 14km north-east of the feedlot.
The feedlot is now able to grow all its own hay and even sells excess supplies.
“It has stabilized our feedlot hay supply and also ensured the hay is consistently of good quality, which is also improving cattle health and weight gains in the feedlot,” Mr Brown said.
The record high store cattle prices haven’t concerned the Brown family to much over the past two years as the prime market prices have also increased, according to Mr Brown.
“The price of cattle went up together, so it’s all relevant when the buying and selling cost are increasing at similar levels,” he said.
“Growing our feedlot business on this property has been profitability driven,” Lachy said.
“Lotfeeding was viewed as a fall back in a drought, but these days feeding cattle is a professional business and an important part of Queensland’s beef supply chain.”