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Business gains through BredWell FedWell

17 June 2024

Key points:

  • Break your decision-making down into realistic targets based on where your results are right now, rather than where you want them be.
  • Making genetic gains is about building slowly over a long period of time and improving incrementally every year.
  • Rapid gains in your economics or profitability can be achieved through making the right management decisions or improvements.

Breeding and feeding Angus cattle has been in the White family’s DNA for more than a century, so it should come as no surprise their recent experience hosting a BredWell FedWell event proved to be a huge success.

NSW producers Sam and Kirsty White – together with their young sons Abbott and Arthur – are proud to continue the family tradition at ‘Bald Blair’, their Angus stud and commercial cattle enterprise in the New England Tablelands.

These days, the Bald Blair Angus Stud is the enterprise’s main profit driver, capitalising on the strong demand for bulls across the eastern seaboard, but Sam said this hasn’t always been the case.

“We’re always responding to the market forces at play in our business and, in 2019, the cost of feed saw us reduce our commercial herd by selling off the adult stock,” Sam said.

“Our goal at the moment is to regrow our commercial herd as quickly as possible in order to rebalance the diversity of our income streams and reduce our risk exposure.”

An opportunity to share and connect

Sam had attended a BredWell FedWell event previously and was impressed by the experience. The couple thought hosting their own event would be a great opportunity to get together with some of the people who had supported their business over the years.

“The BredWell FedWell program definitely takes a broad industry focus, but we also saw it as a chance to share really valuable information with some of our clients and let them see what we are doing in the business,” Sam said.

A simple process

After responding to an expression of interest circulated by the Angus Society, the Whites were put in touch with Schuster Consulting who connected them with Nancy Crawshaw, a BredWell FedWell accredited deliverer and extension officer with Angus Australia.

Sam liaised with Nancy prior to the event to get an understanding of what was required to prepare their animals and their property for the on-site demonstrations which would take place during the workshop.

Enriched by lived experience

“Nancy and Sam worked so well together on the day because they really respect each other's knowledge,” Kirsty said.

“If there's rapport between your presenter and your host producer, then everybody benefits because you get some realistic scenarios out there for discussion – the good, the bad and the ugly.

“Nancy would ask Sam about his experience with different things and then he’d share his perspective which added a practical aspect to the theory,” she said.

“Then you’d get one of the more experienced commercial cattlemen adding their experience to the mix and it would generate a great discussion.”

Expert facilitation

More than 20 producers attended the ‘Bald Blair’ workshop – the Whites said they were all impressed by the quality of Nancy’s presentation, as well as her ability to facilitate discussions on the different topics and deliver real peer-to-peer learning.

“It ended up being quite a diverse group, ranging from experienced cattlemen to those just starting out, some were owners, some were managers, and some were being managed,” Sam said. “Everyone was at a different stage in their development, and they brought very different perspectives or experiences to the table.”

Kirsty said the program was able to adapt to the different levels within the group and the diversity of experience seemed to enhance the learning opportunities thanks to Nancy’s excellent facilitation of the event.

“Everybody was just so comfortable on the day and that created a great environment for some really valuable conversations.”

Five reasons to host a BredWell FedWell event

The BredWell FedWell program is a hands-on, one-day workshop demonstrating how effective breeding and feeding strategies can improve on-farm productivity, with a particular focus on key profit drivers.

Schuster Consulting co-ordinates the BredWell FedWell events on behalf of MLA, with the recently redeveloped program reflecting an evolving understanding of best practice genetics and livestock nutrition.

Peter Schuster said hosting a BredWell FedWell event helps guarantee a workshop is run in your area and in conditions relevant to your production system.

It also delivers additional benefits for producers, such as:

  1. Better understand your enterprise’s profit-drivers by learning from an accredited BredWell FedWell deliverer who understands the local conditions.
  2. Build awareness of your business through promotion of your BredWell FedWell event and the opportunity to share your on-farm strategies with other producers.
  3. Connect and build relationships with other producers, and new or existing clients, through shared knowledge and increased understanding of alternative business and breeding objectives.
  4. Expand your network by connecting with your local extension staff and service providers to promote your event more widely.
  5. Help lift industry performance by sharing valuable learning opportunities with other producers.