Never has it been more important for feedlot operators to run a tight ship, regularly reviewing the balance sheets and keeping a close handle on their margins.
Combined record high cattle values and strong grain prices have put unprecedented pressure on vertically integrated operations, in particular, according to Yarranbrook Farms Feedlot livestock operations manager Peter Healy.
He said every part of the business was facing a cost:price squeeze that necessitated ongoing short-term and longer strategic reviews and planning.
"There is a lot of red ink across the balance sheet at the moment, and we are continually working on new ways to survive and come out of the other end of this situation in good shape," he said.
Mr Healy has worked in the livestock industry for his whole career, including stints in auctioneering, cattle procurement, processing and lot feeding.
For the past seven years, he has been a key driver of the development and expansion of the Yarranbrook Farms Feedlot - which has transitioned between owners and now has capacity for 19,000-head.
In his current role, Mr Healy is primarily responsible for cattle procurement. This means he is continually liaising with growers and attending cattle sales.
He also oversees general operations at the feedlot.
Mr Healy said he sourced stock to finish for a wide range of markets, including Angus mid-fed, the European Union, 100-day feeding, Wagyu and Grain Fed Young Beef (GFYB).
"What I really like about my role is the people I deal with at the grassroots level, and those in the feedlot and processing sectors," he said.
"Most are down-to-earth, practical and professional.
"We are a close-knit community and we are well supported by the wider cattle and beef industry."
Mr Healy said he appreciated the opportunity to make new connections and network with participants and presenters involved in ALFA's Margin and People Management (MPM) program.
This initiative aims to help develop and improve the key skills needed to run a modern, profitable feedlot business.
"The first few MPM face-to-face sessions were excellent for reflecting on different management styles and throwing around ideas with like-minded people," Mr Healy said.
"When there were lockdowns due to COVID-19, our MPM group still had the chance to virtually hook-up and it was great to have access to expert presenters and facilitators from inside and outside of our industry."