The Largest Feedlot in Australia

Key points
  • Mort & Co. expansion will result in the largest operation feedlot in Australia
  • Mort & Co. has still seen more than 4,000 head of cattle going through feedlots each week
  • Challenges include reduced cattle numbers as a result of the ongoing contraction after the La Nina event in 2012 and the ongoing trade issues with China

In February 2020, Mort & Co. announced the completion of its Darling Downs expansion project. This made its site the largest operational feedlot in Australia. Cattle turnoff capabilities at the site are now 200,000 per year.  This impressive project was partly funded by the Queensland’s Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.

The funding is not surprising given the importance of beef processing in Queensland. The launch of the Queensland Beef Processing Strategy 2019-2022 showed just how vital this sector of the manufacturing industry is to the region. The creation of Australia’s largest feedlot is central to the ongoing performance of the sector.

Darwin Cattle Yards

What the Mort & Co. expansion means

There are several impressive aspects of the Mort & Co. expansion that will help to revolutionise the use of feedlots going forward.

This includes the creation of a new gas-fired power plant that enables the company to meet its own power requirements while allowing it to feed power back into the grid. Mort & Co. is also creating a feedlot industry first at the site. A forthcoming newly built fertiliser plant will mean that manure can be converted to fertiliser pellets. Both of these features are important to the sustainable and environmentally friendly future of the industry.

Feedlot continues to flourish despite challenges

The expansion at Mort & Co. has happened despite the challenges that the industry has been facing recently. These challenges include reduced cattle numbers as a result of the ongoing contraction after the La Nina event in 2012 and the ongoing trade issues with China.

Despite these problems, Mort & Co. has still seen more than 4,000 head of cattle going through feedlots each week. In fact, business is good enough for the company to be looking to expand further. In December 2020, it announced that it was looking for a location for a brand new feedlot operation.

Chief Executive Stephen O’Brien acknowledged that 2020 had been a challenging year. However, he stated that the company intended to stick to its strategic plans for feedlot growth. As the planned expansion will take place at a greenfield site, Mort & Co. will build the new premises from scratch. The target area for this proposed construction is from Emerald in Central Queensland to northern Victoria. So, the options cover a wide area.

If Mort & Co. succeeds with its new expansion plans, its total feedlot capacity will be 130,000 head. This is comparable to the capacity of the largest feedlot operator in the country, JBS Australia. Its capacity, across five feedlots, is 150,000 head.

Expansion accompanies award-winning success

Mort & Co. is not just expanding. The company has also recently won awards for its activities. It won the Gerry Doumany export category at the 2020 Toowoomba Business Excellence Awards. This is a great achievement after previously being a divisional winner, in 2019.

The company also won at the Perth Royal Food Awards, in December 2020. This was the first time Mort & Co. had appeared at the awards and it was an impressive debut. They were crowned champions in the Export Beef Class and the Wagyu Marble Score 5+ Class and bronze medal winners in the Grain-Fed Beef Category.

These achievements came against competitors across Australia. So, it was an excellent start in the competition for Mort & Co.

The future certainly looks bright for the company that operates the biggest feedlot in Australia. It seems as though its operations will continue to expand and play an important role in the beef industry in the country.

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