In­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion

Global au­di­ence to hear idea

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - CANDYCE BRAITH­WAITE Candyce.braith­[email protected]

A CEN­TRAL Queens­land pro­ducer has an idea that could po­ten­tially slash the amount of time farm­ers spend in the of­fice.

Rolle­ston’s Natalie En­gel will present this idea to a global au­di­ence at evokeAG, an in­au­gu­ral in­ter­na­tional agrifood-tech­nol­ogy event to be held in Mel­bourne next month.

She was se­lected as one of four fi­nal­ists from across Aus­tralia in the Pitch Tent – Pro­ducer Prob­lem cat­e­gory.

The in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence will in­clude in­vestors, cor­po­rate de­ci­sion-mak­ers and in­dus­try in­flu­encers.

SUN­LIGHT GRAZ­ING

NATALIE and her part­ner Chris White­man man­age a 3966ha grass­fed beef-brand­ing and fin­ish­ing op­er­a­tion at Rolle­ston, south of Emer­ald.

In the good times, Sun­light Graz­ing, owned by Chris and his par­ents, car­ries 1500 head of cat­tle.

They’re hold­ing onto 1200, but if there’s no de­cent rain in the next few weeks the cou­ple will look to re­duce.

“It usu­ally rains in Jan­uary, but if it doesn’t, we’ll have to knock back an­other 50 breed­ers or steers,” she said.

Natalie said they were lucky to get rain in July and Oc­to­ber of 2018 to keep them go­ing, so the sea­son “wasn’t too bad”.

Neigh­bours on three sides of their prop­erty had been af­fected by fires in the lat­ter half of last year, but the cou­ple had been lucky, with Chris only fight­ing a fire right on the bound­ary on Christ­mas Eve.

When this edi­tion of the Ru­ral Weekly caught up with Natalie, she’d ducked in­side for a break from the heat of their sum­mer muster.

Sun­light Graz­ing process their grass-fed EU cat­tle at Teys Aus­tralia in Biloela.

Like the ma­jor­ity of west­ern Queens­land gra­ziers, the prop­erty has also felt the brunt of the veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment laws.

“Two years ago Chris saw it com­ing,” she said.

“We got our PMAV (prop­erty map of as­sess­able veg­e­ta­tion) locked in and bor­rowed money from the bank to clear an ex­tra 400 acres.

“But now we’ve got wat­tle that’s two years old and the black­cur­rant is grow­ing wild.

“We’ve been think­ing about fenc­ing in a herd of goats to clear it.”

PRO­DUCER PROB­LEM

HOSTED by AgriFu­tures Aus­tralia, the aim of evokeAG is to high­light, dis­cuss and de­bate ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments sur­round­ing the fu­ture of our food and how it will be pro­duced.

With a back­ground in feed­lot­ting, agribusi­ness and ag-tech, Natalie’s iden­ti­fied a sim­ple way for pro­duc­ers to man­age qual­ity as­sur­ance plat­forms.

“Cur­rently we’re hav­ing to ac­cess mul­ti­ple sys­tems on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and try­ing to keep on top of it all with­out spend­ing days sit­ting at a desk is tough,” she said.

“There’s lots of dou­ble-ups in forms and re­quire­ments.

“I know my­self, gain­ing ac­cess to EUNVDs (Eu­ro­pean Union ven­dor dec­la­ra­tions), MSA (Meat Stan­dards Aus­tralia) forms and cat­tle health cer­tifi­cates on­line has some­times held the truck up by an ex­tra hour, be­cause the cur­rent plat­form has a lot of is­sues.

Natalie said keep­ing track of an­i­mals when they were sold or pur­chased and all as­so­ci­ated pa­per­work, not just in pa­per form,

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

IN­NO­VA­TOR: Rolle­ston’s Natalie En­gel will step on stage at evokeAG next month to present an idea to merge qual­ity as­sur­ance sys­tems to save pro­duc­ers time.

AHEAD OF THE GAME: Sun­light Graz­ing’s Natalie En­gel and her part­ner Chris White­man man­age 3966ha and an ag-tech busi­ness from Rolle­ston in cen­tral Queens­land. PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

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