Data drives Hughes family's passion for regeneration

Mobile app helps Hughes' family's digital transition

Agribusiness
Anne Hughes, Dulacca, on site with mixed cattle breed.

Anne Hughes, Dulacca, on site with mixed cattle breed.

Aa

Hughes' family use AI data collection to help land regeneration and production

Aa

'Regenerative agriculture' and 'sustainability' are two buzzwords often married together in the world of beef, but for the Hughes family their respective meanings could not be further apart.

The Hughes' have owned their Dulacca cattle properties for 18 years, with the simple goal of leaving the land better off than they found it.

Their passion for land health shines bright in memory of the late Lachlan Hughes - who tragically died in an on-farm accident in 2018.

In 2017, Lachlan anticipated the reliance effective and wholistic regenerative agriculture would need with data and began installing cloud-based farm management software 'AgriWebb' on their farm.

"Our operation is about actually regenerating the land, not just sustaining things as they are. We are trying to improve our pastures, soil and the species of grass," Anna Hughes said.

"We were one of the initial users of AgriWebb, Lachlan was really keen on innovation and was on top of the software as soon as it was available.

Ed Burke, Anna Hughes, and Jim Loman using Agriwebb to track cattle.

Ed Burke, Anna Hughes, and Jim Loman using Agriwebb to track cattle.

"Data allows us to improve our pasture management, we can see everything. We can see what cattle are in what paddocks, how long they've been in there, and how much grass we have available."

AgriWebb is in partnership with Cibolabs, an agricultural data analytics company based in Toowoomba, that uses satellite imagery to give real time updates on pasture health and land condition.

"The technology tells us how much feed and grass is in each paddock," Ms Hughes said.

She uses the application to communicate with her father-in-law Phillip Hughes, and farm manager Jim Lomas.

Satellite data showing farm health and location of cattle head.

Satellite data showing farm health and location of cattle head.

Through AgriWebb, the property has been divided into more than 60 paddocks, where the three can track their mixed breed cattle and move them according to pasture health and livestock weight.

The operation uses both dam and bore water systems, allowing for more paddock division.

"The bore water has enabled us to fence the property according to land and vegetation type, giving us smaller paddocks that mean we can move our cattle more frequently," Ms Hughes said.

You get as much out of data collection as you put in, she said.

"We've managed to progressively add what we've put into this.

"We have their NVD, we can see where they've been weighed, we can see if they're heifers or not. It all helps with traceability."

The Hughes have had a long relationship with innovative business strategies, launching their sister branded beef company, Rangeland Quality Meats in 2010.

"Our businesses need us to be on top of how the cattle are performing, and if we don't record that, then we don't know how our business is running," Ms Hughes said.

"With data, we have more accuracy and we can provide a more consistent product to help us sell our brand."

Philip and wife Adele Hughes established the Lachlan Hughes Foundation in 2020 to honour their son.

The Foundation aims to support the next generation of agriculture to be implementers of change for regenerative agriculture.

To learn more about the Hughes family and their passion for regenerative farming, visit www.lachlanhughesfoundation.org.au.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by