Spe­cial visit to US farm­ing op­er­a­tions

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - CANDYCE BRAITH­WAITE Candyce.braith­waite@apn.com.au

THE fences sur­round­ing Capi­tol Land and Live­stock are green.

Green rep­re­sents the colour of money.

It’s a fit­ting colour scheme for one of the largest cat­tle traders in the United States.

Re­cently a group of around 53 Aus­tralian cat­tle farm­ers trav­elled to the United States on the Rive­rina Stock­feeds USA Feed­lot and Agri­cul­tural Study Tour.

The tour was or­gan­ised by Rive­rina’s Ter­ri­tory sales man­ager Glen Whit­ton.

The group con­sisted of Rive­rina clients from across Queens­land and the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

“The tour was or­gan­ised to ex­pe­ri­ence first-hand what our Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts are do­ing in their op­er­a­tions,” Mr Whit­ton said.

“We vis­ited some of the most in­flu­en­tial cat­tle busi­nesses in the USA with feed­lot­ters, back­grounders, ir­ri­ga­tion, crop­ping and an­i­mal sci­ence as well as some tourist at­trac­tions.

“We saw some amaz­ing coun­try and met some of the very best in the busi­ness.” Here’s a snap­shot of the tour and their learn­ings:


IN THE heart of Texas, Sex­ting Tech­nolo­gies is a world leader in sexed se­men and em­bryo pro­duc­tion.

Mr Whit­ton said they took se­men from bulls and sexed them male and female for clients.

“It’s a big busi­ness for clients all around the world,” he said.

“They have a large clien­tele in Aus­tralia, es­pe­cially with brah­man breed­ers in Queens­land.

“There was a lot of dairy bulls in this op­er­a­tion as well as bran­gus, red brah­man, an­gus and wagyu bulls.

“They also have a feed ef­fi­ciency feed­lot cen­tre where they are able to weigh all the feed con­sumed by each an­i­mal, so they can cap­ture what amount they eat at what time and how much wa­ter they con­sume.”

Mr Whit­ton said this was ground-break­ing tech­nol­ogy in the US as they can have the same bull in a herd of cows, but the cat­tle all have dif­fer­ent weight gains.

“It al­lows the breeder to take out the in­ef­fi­cient cows in the herd from data they have and re­place them with more feed-ef­fi­cient ge­netic cows to pro­duce better beef steers and heifers in feed­lot per­for­mance.”


AS FAR as ranches go, Mr Whit­ton said 44 Farms An­gus Stud at Cameron in Texas, was “un­be­liev­able”.

“They sell 1500 bulls a year through two on-farm sales,” Mr Whit­ton said.

“The bull sell­ing cen­tre and

en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas are just pris­tine, all with beau­ti­fully man­i­cured lawns and gar­dens.

“You have to get an in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend their bull sales, you can’t just rock up on the day and you are ex­pected to pur­chase a bull or two.”

44 Farms use sexed se­men from their top sires and the se­men is be­ing used in Aus­tralian an­gus stud herds.

“They also have their own re­tail meat di­vi­sion. They pur­chase the prog­eny off the peo­ple who buy their bulls,” he said.

“They have restau­rants, in­clud­ing Salt­bush, who use the 44 Farms bred beef on the menu.”


MR WHIT­TON said this “ab­so­lutely huge” cat­tle trad­ing op­er­a­tion had cap­tured a niche mar­ket.

“They trade 500,000 cat­tle per year and each day they have 2500 wean­ers come into the fa­cil­ity,” he said.

“They are very def­i­nite all the cat­tle that comes into the fa­cil­ity has to be sold prior to any­one leav­ing for the day.

“The cat­tle are all branded, ear tagged, vac­ci­nated and tested for BVD.”

They also have 40,000 head in their back­ground­ing op­er­a­tion un­der cen­tre piv­ots and a grain bin in the pad­dock for clients who want to prop­erly wean their calves prior to go­ing into a feed­lot.

“Capi­tol have all their own cat­tle trucks to bring the cat­tle in and out,” Mr Whit­ton said. “All the cat­tle are weighed, they get $45 per head clear profit for 70% of the cat­tle.”

Mr Whit­ton said the owner Jim Sch­w­ert­ner had pho­tos with Ge­orge Bush, Bill Clin­ton, Barack Obama and Don­ald Trump on his wall.

“Even a photo of him get­ting off the pres­i­dent’s plane,” he said.

“He’s ex­tremely in­ter­ested in Aus­tralian cat­tle. He’s heard about the Roma Sa­le­yards and wants to come and have a look at them.”

Mr Whit­ton said they also of­fered a wean­ing pro­gram where calves were de-horned, cas­trated and fed on im­proved pas­tures and sup­ple­men­tary feed for a min­i­mum of 45 days – all for ap­prox­i­mately $2.50 Aus­tralian per day.


TOP re­searchers from the ge­netic re­search fa­cil­ity ex­plained pro­duc­tion, silage man­age­ment and nu­tri­tion.

“This was prob­a­bly one of the best as­pects of the whole tour. The speak­ers gave us in­cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion,” Mr Whit­ton said.

“They spoke about the need to look at our dry lick and pas­ture sup­ple­ment to in­crease the amount of metabolis­able en­ergy, es­pe­cially on breed­ers.

“The in­for­ma­tion on too much lime in these ra­tions ties up the avail­able phos­pho­rous and other nu­tri­ents get­ting into the blood stream and they are ei­ther com­ing out in urine or ma­nure and are a loss to the an­i­mal.

“Hav­ing a liq­uid sup­ple­ment with high en­ergy will help with all types of cat­tle in grow­ing their skele­tal area, health, per­for­mance and con­cep­tion.”

Mr Whit­ton said they dis­cussed the im­por­tance of check­ing silage ev­ery two weeks.

“The qual­ity of the silage pit ac­tu­ally de­gen­er­ates in pro­tein, mois­ture and qual­ity once the air gets to it,” he said.

“As time goes along the air es­capes from the bunker and in turn cre­ates a lesser qual­ity silage, only by small amounts but at times it can be quite sig­nif­i­cant. Es­pe­cially in dairy herds that are on high silage ra­tion, the dairy farm­ers test their silage daily for dry mat­ter, pro­tein and mil­li­joules of en­ergy.”


THIS was an ex­pan­sive feed­lot with 82,000 head of cat­tle on feed.

“There would have been close to 25,000 head of hol­stein steers on feed and they were mag­nif­i­cent,” Mr Whit­ton said.

“These steers are im­planted with 250-day hor­monal growth pro­motants and at the 160-day mark they are im­planted again with a fur­ther HGP.

“The Hol­steins are fed for 350 days, all the other Bri­tish bred cat­tle are fed for a min­i­mum of 240 days and all the ra­tions are corn-based through­out all the US feed­lots.

“All the fin­ished cat­tle are some­where be­tween 680 and 750kg on Aus­tralian weights.”


MR WHIT­TON said the tour was ex­tremely re­ward­ing for all the par­tic­i­pants.

If you would like more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Glen Whit­ton at gwhit­ton@ rive­rina.com.au.

The tour group with Jim Sch­w­ert­ner, owner of Capi­tol Land and Live­stock, Sch­w­ert­ner, Texas, in the view­ing area of the large cat­tle trad­ing cen­tre ex­plain­ing how it all works.


44 Farms An­gus Stud Bull Barn at Cameron, Texas.

Glen and Janelle Whit­ton at XIT Feed­lot in Here­ford, Texas.

Hol­stein steers be­ing fed at North Platt Feed­lot in Ne­braska.

Gus­tavo Toro, Sex­ing Tech­nolo­gies, Nava­sota, Texas, with the tour group and stu­dents.


The tour group at Bar­rett and Cro­foot Feed­lot, Here­ford, Texas.

The group at Global An­i­mal prod­ucts, Amar­illo, Texas.

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