Two years ago Michael Famularo, as a keen investor, recognised the only way for cattle prices to go was up.
It was the catalyst for the Melbourne financial planner and his business partner James Sackl to build Australia’s first fully covered beef feedlot at Kongorong.
“The cost to produce cattle has been increasing and there was a disconnect between the sale prices and the world herd 20 per cent below where it needed to be,” he said.
“At the end of the day it is food, so it was only a matter of time.”
In March 2015 they contracted 64 hectares of land.
By the feedlot’s completion in the middle of last year, the cattle market had more than doubled.
The feedlot is aiming to turn off 1600 Angus steers a year from cattle bought or contract fed for clients.
It is already achieving daily weight gains of 2.2 kilograms to 2.9kg.
It is licensed for 400 head which are fed a pelleted ration for 90 to 110 days.
A further 100 to 150 head are backgrounded in surrounding paddocks.
Mr Famularo says the added cost of enclosing the feedlot will soon be recouped in superior weight gains.
“During summer the shed doesn’t get any hotter than 26 degrees and in winter it doesn’t get much colder than about 10 degrees,” he said.
“In winter, open air feedlots become mud pits and drop off on their weight gains.”
Mr Famularo – whose grandfather was a stock agent with Miller Whan & John for 50 years – says genetics bred from Ben and Samantha Glatz’s Angus bulls have been the top performers from several bloodlines trialled.
For that reason, a breeding herd they are establishing will also be 100 per cent Glatz Black Angus cattle.
“The Glatz-blood steers’ good temperament gives us an extra 0.2-0.3kg/day, which is a pretty big deal,” he said.
“With strong local support from livestock agents MWJ and Scott Creek Livestock, we have been able to establish good on-farm relationships for procurement and strong demand for our end product, with producers recognising the consistent high quality being delivered.”
Push to differentiate top beef
THE Limestone Coast is a rich food bowl and Michael Famularo and James Sackl want to promote its produce to the world.
Their ambitious goal is to use an online sales platform, My Farm Australia, to deliver premium wine, bottled water, beef and lamb, fruit and grains to customers anywhere in the world.
“I saw a disconnect when I first came here and saw a lot people trying to get foreign investment or sell to overseas,” Mr Famularo said.
“I thought you can only sell it (the land) once but you can sell the produce grown here over and over again – we need to think about things differently.”
They have trademarked Blue Lake Station – a reference to the nearby Blue Lake in Mount Gambier – for their grainfed beef and are keen to hear from other like-minded producers
They are also working with Beston Global Food Group on a niche saltbush beef product, and are looking to feed saltbush pellets to selected lines of cattle.