As technology advancements make the collection and analysis of data commonplace, more and more beef enterprises are turning to benchmarking.
For John and Angela Frith, Glen Arden Cattle Company, Roma, the utilisation of data and industry benchmarking has become an integral part of their business.
“We’ve been benchmarking for about five years now, and it’s really ramped up in the past three years,” Mr Frith said.
“It’s been a massive influence on our business, and I’d say it’s almost paramount to operating an agribusiness.”
Looking specifically at labour efficiency and productivity, Mr Frith said it had given them a better understanding of their business and the necessary tools to make informed decisions.
“We have data behind nearly every decision that we make – we know our costs, we also know what drives profitability, we regularly collaborate with the top performing people in the industry, and it just means you’re constantly working on your business,” he said.
“It gives you confidence; you know what a good business looks like and you know how to create one, and it means you can see the improvement in your business.
“As most people know, you often get caught up in doing all the time, instead of actually working on your business, which is often more important.”
Spread across 16,000 hectares in the Roma and Morven districts, as well as the 485,000-hectare Neutral Junction Station in the Northern Territory, John and Angela, in partnership with John’s parents, Charlie and Liz, have progressively increased their operation in recent years.
“Originally Glen Arden was an integrated business where we’d breed cattle in the Territory and bring them back down, background them through our Queensland properties and put them through our own feedlot on Glen Arden and we’d supply ACC or Coles directly to their Cannon Hill plant,” Mr Frith said.
“Now, we have 5000 Droughtmaster breeders plus grower cattle in the Territory, and our Queensland country has become a backgrounding operation.”
With a carrying capacity of 5500 head across the Queensland properties, the Friths purchase cattle weighing between 200 and 250kg out of the saleyards and carry them through to feedlot weight.
“Heifers go into Australian Country Choice once they hit about 380kg, and the steers largely go to Condabri at Miles at 450kg,” Mr Frith said.
Future industry leaders got the chance to look inside this progressive beef operation when the Friths opened up their properties to several hundred interested youngsters as part of the Young Beef Producers Forum last week.
Mr Frith said knowledge sharing and collaboration was important for the industry to progress and move into levels of higher productivity.
“By attending the YBPF these people have opened themselves up to challenge their own mindsets and that’s something I happily support,” he said.