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Evaluation of Connectivity and Digital Solutions for Vertically Integrated Beef Operations – Stages 1 and 2

Did you know MLA is helping to connect one of the biggest vertically integrated companies to improve productivity and profitability?

Project start date: 30 April 2018
Project end date: 10 January 2020
Publication date: 07 February 2020
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (1.2 MB)


A national survey suggests that connectivity issues remain one of the key reasons why the extensive cattle industry lags behind other forms of Australian agriculture in technology uptake. An inability to efficiently capture and transfer data within red meat supply chains for processing, analysis and reporting can hinder the integrity and compliance of the data and related business decisions.

Australian Country Choice, a vertically-integrated beef production and processing operation, participated in as a case study to demonstrate solutions that resolve challenges with data capture and transfer.

Private NextG towers were identified to support connectivity to the company's properties and offices. The enhanced connectivity and data transfer achieved more cost-effective reporting and decision making, more timely reconciliation of business transactions and improved staff efficiency and safety.


The primary objective of this project was to evaluate the feasibility and commercial options of data transfer across a vertically-integrated beef company. This involved an independent assessment of connectivity and capability in data movement and an evaluation of solutions through proof-of-concept demonstrations.

Key findings

  • There are approximately 40 connectivity solutions available to increase the capacity, productivity and profitability of Australia's red meat enterprises.

  • Solutions evaluated and implemented on the business' properties involved a combination of:

    • Riverbed wide area network (WAN) optimisation
    • implementing IP cloud to all properties
    • changing from satellite to NextG with multiple relay stations.
  • Installing a NextG tower in suitable locations enables unlimited downloads to remote properties, which improves the productivity of the business.

  • It is critical that businesses continue to monitor improvements in telecommunication technologies and relative performance and cost improvements to determine if new alternatives offer improved value.

Benefits to industry

The benefits to producers from enhanced connectivity and data transfer capability and capacity are numerous and include:

  • reliable and enhanced communication of data and information from the on-farm and feedlot operations to central reporting for more efficient, real-time business decisions
  • rapid and efficient movement and analysis of data between supply chain operations
  • effective communications infrastructure that is critical to attract and retain staff and reduce training requirements.

MLA action

The outcomes of the case study were included in a detailed report on connectivity and data movement options, to be shared with the wider industry.

MLA is continuing to partner with providers to evaluate new and unique connectivity solutions that can improve the capacity and profitability of a wide range of businesses across the red meat supply chain.

Whilst the benefits are being qualified for each and every individual solution, MLA is in the process of commissioning a comprehensive independent review of the benefits of enhancing connectivity to the red meat industry through AgTech.

Future research

No single solution to address data connectivity and communications can be recommended for the entire industry. Solutions need to be developed on an enterprise basis, to account for individual production needs and environments.

Technologies that will be available within three years and promise significant improvement, such as infrastructure sharing and the 'Mobile Blackspot Program', warrant further investigation once they are availabl

Related resources

MLA final reports

MLA news articles

External guides


External news articles

More information

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Primary researcher: Australian Country Choice Properties