As the countdown to Beef Australia 2018 begins, Queensland Country Life, is giving readers an insight to the properties participating on the popular Westpac Agribusiness Property Tours program.
The tour program features a mixture of full and half-day tours of both stud and commercial properties, starting on Monday May 7.
One of the first properties to be showcased will be Barfield Station, Banana, home to Robert and Melinee Leather, and is a full day tour.
Robert and Melinee Leather started out cutting timber on a property near Mt Perry to make ends meet, and now nearly 30 year later they now own Barfield Station, a beautiful historical property located in the Banana Region.
Their original property Four Mile at Mt Perry was bought in partnership with Roberts parents in 1988. It was the first of many stepping stones the Leathers used to build up the business they run today.
They went on to buy several smaller properties and resell them before investing in Barfield Station which is now a certified Organic, PCAS, EU and Grazing BMP property.
Melinee and Robert believe having a solid business plan and working hard is the key to any successful business.
“We cut sleepers for Queensland Rail for years for a long time everything we made from cattle was invested back into the property.
Building cattle numbers and developing our properties was part of our strategy for expansion” Mrs Leather Said.
The Leathers now use a parallel production system to run their business.
The Four Mile a non-organic property runs 1000 breeders and the progeny from there are transported to Barfield Station to be finished for the EU and PCAS markets.
“All of the cattle on Barfield are treated as organic, but the ones that are born on the Four Mile [non-organic] and brought to Barfield Station will never in their lifetime be considered ‘organic’,” Mrs Leather said.
Their milk-tooth steers and heifers are consigned to Teys Australia, Biloela for processing into the PCAS and EU markets.
Steers usually have weights of 300 to 320kg, while heifers are in the weight range of 260 to 270kgs.
At Barfield Station, they run a Brahman based herd with 500 organic breeders.
The Leather’s are constantly looking for new ways to improve the quality of their herd.
Currently, they are expanding their herd to include some Belmont Red, Limousin, Senepol and Brangus bloodlines to lift the marbling in their meat.
Since buying Barfield Station the Leathers have planted 240 hectares of Leucaena to strengthen the production system and make the property more resilient through dry times.
Visitors will see various stages of the plantings as Barfield is planned to have 4000 hectares of Leucaena established over the next ten years.
Other areas of the property have been seeded with legumes and grasses to improve feed quality and ground cover.
While the Leathers now run a very successful beef cattle enterprise at the historic Barfield Station, they have maintained their sustainable timber harvesting business and breeding operation at Four Mile where their son Adam and wife Chloe live with their two children Ava and Jaxon.
“Our vision is to create a sustainable business by focusing on and caring for our animals, land and family members,“Mrs Leather said.
For more information on booking tickets for Barfield Station during the Beef Australia 2018 Westpac Property Tours Program, please visit www.beefaustralia.com.au or contact Samantha@beefaustralia.com.au
The full day tour is $140/pp and includes morning tea and lunch.