Consumers these day have plenty of options when it comes to Paddock to Plate options, but there is something about one cattle breeding business near Meringandan that sets itself apart from the rest.
Kieren and Andrea Luck of Bannock Brae Meats control their business from the cattle breeding phase to their shopfront retail outlet at Highfields near Toowoomba and service customers as far as Bedourie to Brisbane.
Kieren is a fifth generation cattle producer, and qualified butcher, and together with wife Andrea, they combine their love of breeding cattle with his butchering expertise to give customers the best possible product at the best price.
The couple have 688 hectares of grazing country that runs to creek flats on Meringdan’s outskirts over two properties Erinvale and Bannock Brae.
Erinvale has been in the family since 1905 and runs the breeders and progeny. It grows the majority of the hay and grain requirements the couple need to finish their livestock.
Bannock Brae is set on 25 hectares and is home to the couple, and their on-farm butchering business.
The Lucks run 190 Limousin Santa Gertrudis cross joined back to the same breeds, and recently they have introduced a Hereford bull to give the progeny an out-cross.
The breeders are joined all year to provide a continual supply chain to their retail business, with calves weaned at 220kg or 10 months of age.
“Once weaned, we draft off our top 30 heifer replacements, and the balance are finished on grain for the supply chain,” Kieren said.
All weaners are finished on grain until Kieren’s eye appraisal tells him they are finished and ready for slaughter at about 12 months of age.
To maintain the supply and demand, Kieran is a regular buyer at the Toowoomba saleyards.
“When operating at the saleyards it is temperament I look for first, irrespective of breed,” he said.
“We source additional hormone-free beef, as well as pork, lamb and chicken to ensure a guaranteed supply,” he said.
Livestock return as carcases to process
In 2005, Kieren and Andrea Luck established their fully accredited Safe Food processing butcher shop on-farm at Bannock Brae.
The fully fitted facility is capable of processing 15 bodies of beef weekly and employs three qualified butchers.
Once their cattle are finished and ready to slaughter they are processed at two nearby accredited abattoirs.
“Or main target is to give families top quality meat at a reasonable price,” Kieren said.
Kieren transports the killers to the respective abattoirs on a Wednesday for a early morning kill.
His priority is low stress handling and minimum travel time for all stock.
He personally chooses the best finished cattle selected each week for slaughter
The carcases are returned to Bannock Brae on Friday where they are hung in the coldroom until Monday for processing.
The butchers work from 5am until 1pm processing the carcasses and all meat is pre-packaged, weighed and priced in the on-farm butcher shop then transported fresh daily to their retail front.
Kieren delivers individual customers their orders in Brisbane monthly, while Toowoomba locals are serviced weekly.
He sums their business up: “I am the farmer, cattleman, butcher, delivery driver and the boss, while Andrea is the organiser, the office manager, accountant, the packer and the other boss,” he said.
Retail outlet adds dimension
In 2014, Kieren and Andrea Luck opened their retail Bannock Brae Meats shopfront business at Highfields to cater for the growing demand of their product.
The shop is open between 12pm and 6pm Monday to Fridays and 8.30am to 12pm on Saturdays.
As well as a range of top quality cuts of beef, lamb, pork and chicken, it also stocks it’s popular woodsmoked ham and bacon and cheese kabana.
It really has an extra dimension to customer service and stocks a collection of sauces, marinades, pastas, relishes and other delights to compliment customers dishes. Fresh fruit and vegetables and a supply of farm fresh eggs and Norco milk and butter are also stocked.
For customers further afield, Kieren and Andrea have made ordering very easy with an online ordering system. All orders are tailored to the customer’s requirements.