BREEDING and selling your own beef is one thing but taking control of the whole supply chain including breeding, processing, packaging plus selling meat takes paddock to plate to a new level.
While it might seem like a risky move, the Wain family, Jerakala, Mundubbera has done just that and taken responsibility of its product in every aspect.
Jasen and Lisa Wain, along with children, Cory, Chantelle and Ethan, own 12,140 hectares of land in the North Burnett region where they currently run 400 breeders, 300 backgrounder cattle and 300 fat cattle.
Their herd numbers are down after selling off some cattle due to one of the worst droughts in 70 years up until mid this year.
Like many producers, the Wain family regularly sold their cattle to meat processors but in 2013, when the opportunity to purchase the Eidsvold butchery and abattoir became available, they changed their whole operation.
They had built their herd on Brangus and Droughtmaster genetics but one year into their processing journey noticed they needed to soften their meat and introduced Hereford and Angus bulls.
The new genetics provided the results they were after with customers travelling from as far as Sydney to secure their beef.
They have retained Ultrablack weaner herd bulls to also add to their breeding program for their cleaner coat and carcase qualities.
Mr Wain said they kill their own beef and local lamb and pork.
“Beef prices were low four years ago (so we decided to buy the butcher shop) to value add to the business,” he said.
The purchase also benefited their cattle with lower trucking distances, Ms Wain added.
The family aims to slaughter their animals at an estimated dressed weight of 250kg with their cattle prepared as grass fed when seasons allow and fattened on improved pastures.
In addition to selling their beef at their own butchery they also attend Hervey Bay markets to connect their product with coastal consumers.
They aim to be marketing a whole carcass product in the near future and targeting new clients in bigger cities, including Brisbane, to educate them on eating often avoided beef cuts.
Family holds key to success
BATTLING drought and wild dog problems have already proved challenging for Jasen and Lisa Wain, Jerakala, Mundubbera, and for the supply to their paddock to plate business but they hope family input can be their solution.
The purchase of an abattoir and butchery in 2013 was done to create a vertically integrated enterprise that would continue to grow and sustain Mr and Mrs Wain plus future generations of the family.
With that in mind, the family has set its sights on combining succession planning with ambitions of drought proofing as a means to keep the properties sustainable.
It is hoped the combination would see the properties able to supply the grass-fed market on a constant basis.
Last year they suffered significant losses due to dog problems on their 12,140 hectares of North Burnett property, with 150 calves being killed.
That combined with their cows struggling through continued dry times saw them providing supplement feed and water on a regular basis.
Their children, builder Cory, 28, apprentice butcher Chantelle, 24, and apprentice jeweller Ethan, 21, have all expressed interest in the property.
Chantelle is also a part-owner in the butchery business.
During a recent family meeting they pitched their business ideas for the problem with the best idea backed by their parents in the form of $5000 funding.
Ms Wain said while most people had a five year plan their family had established a 100 year plan in a bid to ensure their property stayed with their family.
“It’s about sustainability and longevity,” she said.
“We are not making decisions for them or not even for us, it’s for their kids and grand kids.
“Diversification is key for the 100 year plan to stay sustainable.”
Mr Wain said he hoped that developing irrigation systems and sustainable water supplies would allow them to expand their beef business even further.