It is a transparent and scaled alternative, with everyone involved doing the right thing at every point. The farmer and processor work together to deliver more valued cuts of beef and lamb to consumers.
Every farmer has been handpicked based on their strong focus on genetics, continuous improvement in meat quality and growing animals the right way – without taking shortcuts. This way of working is about shared pride and passion.
Raising livestock in a natural way is what farmers do. We need to be able to show the consumer what happens on the farm to ensure livestock have been grown and managed in a natural environment. To most farmers this is an easy task as healthy grown and managed stock are easy to promote to the end users. We like to look at good livestock in natural conditions, it is called job satisfaction.
It has made us as an operation look at what we have always done and question why we have done it that way? It has tightened up our procedures around documentation and management practices, added discipline to our everyday activities and made us think about the different market options and end consumers of the product we produce.
Running 1500 to 1800 cows on 7500 acres near Nareen in Western Victoria, John previously sold weaner cattle to market in one lot. In the late 1990’s he commenced a new model, fattening his weaner cattle himself by trucking them to another property in South Gippsland, with higher rainfall and a longer growing season.
“We find it more satisfying to finish our own cattle, seeing them through from the paddock to the consumer. We have shortened the pipeline and focus on achieving a high MSA index at 24 months of age. They need to move on with the next drop coming through,” says John.
With a focus on MSA traits, John’s operation uses software to follow calves from birth to the chiller. “JBS share results and feedback, allowing us to see what we are producing and why. We learn where our cattle are ending up, be it overseas or on the Australian market, making us feel like we are part of a successful branded product.”