Kumbia cattle producers Ian and Megan Barbour, Holly Park in Queensland’s South Burnett area wanted to grow their cattle herd without expanding land size.
The solution came with the development of a $100,000 malted barley seed fodder factory and internal irrigation system installed two years ago.
“The malted barley is the same stuff they make beer out of and it’s great to produce a nutritious fodder source for cattle,” Mr Barbour said.
The ongoing issue of consistently maintaining the genetics of their breeding herd motivated a need for an ongoing, good quality feed source.
“We value the genetics in our breeder herd and selling out cows during dry times wasn’t an attractive option for us,” Mr Barbour said.
The financial investment in the fodder system also was the most cost effective way for the family to expand their cattle herd numbers.
They run Angus/Angus-cross cows and have been able to retain more heifers due to the fodder system, with a 58 per cent increase of their breeding herd over two years.
We value the genetics in our breeder herd and selling out cows during dry times wasn’t an attractive option for us.
“It also gives us more stability in marketing our weaner cattle since we can maintain them on fodder feed if the market prices drop of a short period of time or grow the cattle out to a new weight category,” Mr Barbour said.
The fodder factory has been shut down since October last year after good rainfall across their property, but recent heatwaves may result in the Barbour family recommencing fodder growing by March.
“Despite a rainfall of about seven inches over Spring and Summer, the fodder factory will most likely restart so we can maintain our breeding cattle,” Mr Barbour said.
“Another three to four weeks of hot weather conditions with no rain and the fodder factory will be up and running again.”
They generally try of grow the cow’s prodigy out to feeder weight after weaning to between 320 and 400 kilograms, plus market majority of their cattle through Dalby Saleyards.
“Last year we kept our feeder cattle a little bit longer because the prices had dropped slightly at the time we normally sell,” Mr Barbour said.
“We are working our herd towards straight Angus cows due to the premium price we’ve achieve for our type of cattle operation.”
The Barbour family also purchase higher quality performance bulls.