Monday, October 11, 2010

The Australia Feedlot

A little bit like Western Kansas

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to travel to Kerwee Feedlot in Toowomba, Australia, which is about two hours west of Brisbane. This part of Australia is one of the largest feedlot areas in the country.

It was a great opportunity to tour this yard as they are quite respected in the industry, and recently were awarded the Feedlot of the Year for under 10,0000 head, presented by Australia Lot Feeders Association. My friend Shelley works for the company as a project coordinator and works on marketing opportunities.

Shelly filling out biosecruity paperwork so we could enter the feedlot.
It was extremely interesting to listen to Shelley talk about the feedlot and the measures that they are taking to ensure a high quality product reaches the consumer's plate. Their feedlot exports about 80% of their beef which means that pens of cattle are fed very different depending on what part of the world they will be sent to.
Shades are above all the cattle pens. They are slotted to allow air movement and tell pens dry out.
The Australian consumer prefers a much leaner product, compared to the beef that will be send to Japan and the Pacific Rim. Part of the reason for Aussie's wanting lean beef is that there hasn't been the education amount marbling, and it's benefits in terms of health and flavor. Also, Australia doesn't a mandatory national grading program, it is optional to participate. I was really shocked about this, but Shelley says it goes back to it being hard to define what is the best quality beef when different sectors wanting such specifications.

 One of the most interesting parts of the feedyard was that cattle will come into the yard at 14-18 months of age. The cattle that will remain in Australia will be fed for approximately 70 days before they are sent to slaughter. This is referred to as short fed.

Cattle that are going into branded beef programs like Certified Australian Angus Beef will be medium or long fed and will remain on feed for 120-220 days.

This is a steer that will go into the Australian Certified Angus Beef program.
 The feedyard also feeds a large percentage of Wagyu cattle. They also come into the yard around 15-18 months of ago. They will then stay on feed for a minimum for 400 days. Currently in the yard though they have Wagyu cattle that have been on feed for 540 days.

This is a wagyu steer. Obesely fat!
This sign below quickly caught my eye. These cattle are able for export into the European Union. They are lifetime traceable, and they are to come from EU accredited properties. These cattle also are similar to our never ever cattle in that they can not receive implants or be treated with antibiotics at any point in their life.

To view more pictures from my feedyard tour click here.


  1. Great blog, Crystal! So interesting to learn about the different feeding for different countries!

  2. Very informative and interesting posts about Australian agriculture. Isn't Toowomba one of the areas that was hit hard with flooding in late December/early January? Do you know if any of these feedlots were affected? I was in Brisbane, which is nearby, and it was hit hard by flooding less than two weeks after I left. Surreal!


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