Sapphire upgrades to a new feed mill

Strategy drive big expansion


Farm Online News
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Sapphire Feedlot to increase to 20,000 head capacity.

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Don Madden in front of the newly completed stage one tempering feed mill. Smithfield have made provisions to increase the mill by three fold in the future.

Don Madden in front of the newly completed stage one tempering feed mill. Smithfield have made provisions to increase the mill by three fold in the future.

It’s 14 months since the Smithfield Cattle Company, owners of Smithfield Feedlot at Proston, added another gem and secured the Sapphire Feedlot situated east of Goondiwindi.  

Sapphire Feedlot is currently built to a capacity of 6000 head. 

According to Smithfield Cattle Company managing director Jason Shearer-Smith the expansion into the Goondiwindi district was something the family had been strategically working towards for some time.

He said the Sapphire Feedlot was in a good geographic area and it allowed them to position themselves to source cattle from southern and western Queensland plus northern NSW. 

Currently, Smithfield Cattle Company has an application with the Goondiwindi Regional Council to expand its feedlot capacity to 20,000 head. 

Mr Shearer-Smith said the expansion program is being driven by the general trend to feed cattle for longer periods.

“Overall, we are bullish (confident) in the role feedlots play in the beef supply chain,” he said.

“The general trend is to feed cattle for longer and this is restricting feedlot capacity,” he said. 

“When our application is approved we will look at expanding into the longer term Angus and Wagyu custom feeding regimes when the demand arises.

“The feeding time for Wagyu ranges from 350 days to 600 days for first-cross cattle to full-bloods.”  

As well, Smithfield Cattle Company will still supply its existing Woolworths supply contract sourcing cattle between 280kg to 360kg to deliver carcase weights around 270kg after 80 days on feed.

Smithfield Cattle Company are in the process of building a new feed mill as part of their expansion vision at Sapphire Feedlot. 

The company’s managing director Jason Shearer-Smith said that when they bought Sapphire Feedlot 14 months ago it’s bones were first class.

Since then improvements include adding shade cloth over all the pens at a cost of $70/head and upgrading their feed mill.

“We are nearing the completion of stage one of our three stage new feed mill, which is part of our overall expansion program to increase our numbers to 20,000 head,” Mr Shearer-Smith said. 

“We have upgraded from a dry rolling mill to a tempering mill that uses water to soak the grain to 20 per cent moisture overnight before milling.

“This improves the grains digestibility, palatability and consistency within the the feeding rations. Once a boiler is added, we have the capacity to steam flake grain.”

The Shearer-Smiths were named the 2014 Woolworths National Supplier of the Year for cattle finished at the Smithfield Feedlot near Proston.  

Sapphire Feedlot is managed by Andrew Slack, the 2015 Australian Young Lot Feeder of the Year, who joined Smithfield Feedlot five years ago as a trainee manager.

Smithfield family member Don Madden, Smithfield Cattle Company in front of the Sapphire Feedlot pens covered under shade cloth at a calculated cost of $70 a head. Picture Helen Walker

Smithfield family member Don Madden, Smithfield Cattle Company in front of the Sapphire Feedlot pens covered under shade cloth at a calculated cost of $70 a head. Picture Helen Walker

The story Sapphire upgrades to a new feed mill first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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