MAXIMISING profits by targeting premium markets and opening their own shopfront for meat sales is at the core of expansion plans for the Marks family of Cactus Bore, Marks Pastoral, Swan Reach.
The small family enterprise run by Boyd Marks, brother Sam and parents Andrew and Michelle, consists of the heritage breed Berskshire pigs, F1 Wagyu-Black Angus cattle, as well as prime lambs produced from a White Suffolk ram over Merino ewe.
With online orders growing, the Marks family recently employed a butcher and opened a shop front at Mannum in an effort to expand.
Their online sales of pork, beef and lamb assorted boxes will continue, with the family delivering across the state.
With 25 Berkshire sows and similar numbers of breeding cattle and ewes, Boyd said the family chose their breeds to make their small operation as lucrative as possible.
"We've got a small farm so we had to think outside the square to make it as profitable as possible," he said.
"That's why we picked Berkshire pigs rather than white pigs and it was the same reasoning with the beef.
"We have gone for the premium line of things."
In line with the focus on a premium product, the Boyds began breeding F1 Wagyu-Angus cattle in 2017, following the purchase of the bull Tojo-Lake Wagyu L9 from Lake Wagyu.
The bull is a full-blood Wagyu from the Tajima bloodline and is at the top end of marbling expectation, with the Marks family aiming to produce well marbled offspring when crossed with their Angus.
Boyd said results had been encouraging, with their crosses achieving marbling scores of six and seven regularly.
The cattle are primarily grass fed, before finishing in a feedlot where they are finished off on grain to assist with marbling qualities.
The prime lambs are primarily grass fed, while the Berkshire pigs are fed a locally-sourced mixed grain ration and fresh greens, with no need for hormones or growth promotants.
"We produce most of the grain ourselves, the barley goes into the mix and we source other grain from other local farms," Boyd said.
Boyd said their Berkshires, which command a premium due to their quality meat and higher production costs, lived in a hybrid piggery and thrived in the low-stress environment.
"The benefits of the hybrid system is you have the control afforded by the indoor component and the pigs have somewhere to get out of the elements," he said.
"The outdoor area allows them to exhibit their normal behaviours."
NEW BUTCHER SHOP TO DRIVE SALES
A GROWTH in online orders was the instigator behind the purchase of a shopfront in Mannum by the Marks family, Cactus Bore, Marks Pastoral, Swan Reach.
The family have employed a butcher, with slaughtering of their animals to continue at Loxton and processing done in Mannum.
Boyd Marks said the logistics of the family's expansion plans, combined with a growing number of orders, meant the shopfront made perfect sense for the future.
Online orders will continue for people who wish to buy that way, said Boyd, with the butcher shop to attract an expanded pool of customers.
Boyd said the family had received consistently great feedback about their pork, beef and lamb and he said one of the major factors in producing a good product was raising their livestock in a low-stress environment.
"All of our stock live in a low-stress environment, they aren't handled a lot and it's only a small trip when going to slaughter," he said.
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