Beat­ing the bench­mark

Us­ing data and plan­ning to stay ahead in the beef pro­duc­tion busi­ness

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER Cas­san­[email protected]­ral­weekly.com.au

GLEN Ar­den Cat­tle Com­pany likes to stay ahead of the game when it comes to pro­duc­ing beef.

The Frith fam­ily has run Glen Ar­den since 1981.

John and An­gela Frith run the busi­ness in part­ner­ship with John’s par­ents, Char­lie and Liz.

The com­pany now in­cludes four Queens­land prop­er­ties – Glen Ar­den, Glen Hope, Nardu and Uabba – which make up 16,187 hectares. The Friths hosted a prop­erty tour of Nardu and Glen Ar­den for over 250 peo­ple as part of last week’s Young Beef Pro­duc­ers Fo­rum in Roma.

The Frith fam­ily also owns Neu­tral Junc­tion Sta­tion in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory which is 485,623 hectares.

John Frith said the Queens­land prop­er­ties and Neu­tral Junc­tion were run as in­di­vid­ual profit cen­tres.

“The Queens­land prop­er­ties have a car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of 5500 cat­tle,” Mr Frith said.

“In the Ter­ri­tory there are 5000 breed­ers plus fol­low­ers.

“Our Queens­land coun­try is all back­ground­ing, and in the Ter­ri­tory there’s a drought­mas­ter-cross fe­male herd, with ul­tra black and drought­mas­ter bulls.”

The Glen Ar­den prop­erty is fit­ted with a feed­lot which is not cur­rently in use.

“All our cat­tle are back­grounded and sold into feed­lots for grain fin­ish­ing,” he said.

“Our heifers go to the Aus­tralian Coun­try Choice, Brind­ley Park feed­lot.

“And our steers go to Condabri feed­lot.”

The cat­tle at Glen Ar­den are grazed on grasses in­clud­ing re­claimer rhodes, premier digit, gat­ton panic and buf­fel.

“We typ­i­cally grow steers to

450kg and heifers to about

380kg,” Mr Frith said.

Glen Ar­den’s yards have re­cently been up­graded from a three-way draft to a five-way, over-the-scale draft.

“The yards up­grade was to in­crease labour ef­fi­ciency by not hav­ing to re­draft, and to re­duce pro­duc­tion losses be­cause you get them back in the pad­dock quicker,” Mr Frith said.

The Frith fam­ily also run a hay pro­duc­tion op­er­a­tion at Neu­tral Junc­tion.

“We learnt about the as­set which is the wa­ter aquifer, and with no hay pro­duc­tion within 100s of kilo­me­tres, we saw the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop it into a hay farm,” Mr Frith said.

“There is a cur­rent 120 hectare ir­ri­gation de­vel­op­ment that grows hay and pro­vides it mostly to the Barkly re­gion.

“We’re wait­ing on an in­creased wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion to in­crease that fur­ther and utilise the amaz­ing as­set that sits just un­der the ground.

“At the mo­ment it pro­duces about 3000 tonnes of hay. The wa­ter is pumped from shal­low bores di­rectly to the pivot head.”

Mr Frith said ob­jec­tive de­ci­sion-mak­ing was the key to suc­cess in their busi­ness.

“We try to mea­sure ev­ery­thing we do through bench­mark­ing and other tools to make in­formed de­ci­sions,” he said.

“We bench­mark and an­a­lyse key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors to make sure we’re mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

“Feed bud­get­ing is an­other big one, so we know how much feed we have for how many an­i­mals through the dry sea­son.”

Mr Frith uses Bush Agribusi­ness to track the per­for­mance of Glen Ar­den Cat­tle Com­pany and im­prove their busi­ness.

“I use KLR Mar­ket­ing to help with our sell­ing and buy­ing de­ci­sion mak­ing,” he said. “Col Pa­ton of EchoRich helps us with our feed bud­get­ing sys­tem.

“And Neil McDon­ald of Ad­vanced Live­stock Move­ment and Man­age­ment pro­vides us with the frame­work that all our stock han­dling is based on.”

Mr Frith grew up on the prop­erty and is now rais­ing the next gen­er­a­tion.

“We have Char­lie, four, Harry, two, and Nancy who is eight weeks,” he said.

“I grew up here and I’ve been in­volved the whole time, in and out.

“I went away to board­ing school at The South­port School and uni to study busi­ness, and played a bit of rugby league.

“Then I came back to the fam­ily busi­ness 2009.

“We love be­ing in­volved in agribusi­ness and we are ex­cited about the fu­ture in it”

We bench­mark and use key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors to make sure we’re al­ways mov­ing for­ward.

— John Frith

PHOTO: CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER

IN THE BEEF GAME: Si­mon Mollee, Jess Maskill and John Frith from Glen Ar­den Cat­tle Com­pany.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

The Young Beef Pro­duc­ers Fo­rum vis­ited Glen Ar­den to see the im­proved yards on the prop­erty.

PHOTO: CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER

Si­mon Mollee and Jess Maskill op­er­at­ing the up­dated yards at Glen Ar­den.

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