The inaugural Neogen Angus Foundation Production Tour took place in July and saw eight young members of the beef industry from around Australia embark on a three-day tour of Southeast Queensland, visiting various beef businesses representing various stages of the supply chain that makes up paddock to plate production. 

Alkira Riley, Charlie Wrigley, Georgia Graham, Tom Pumpa, Tyla Sparks, Sarah Nesbitt, Cooper Walsh and John Barnett all participated in the tour, which aimed to provide them the chance to experience firsthand the beef supply chain in this region to gain a greater insight and appreciation of Angus cattle in the South-East Queensland environment. 


Each tour participant has provided a report of their experience on the tour. 

Read their Reports

3 days, jam packed with a paddock to plate overview of beef production in Queensland.   

I loved every aspect of this trip, and it was truly an eye opener.   

Starting us off, we did a tour through the Neogen lab and getting an overview of how the robots and technology extract, map and read DNA. It very interesting being able to look through the lab and follow the process and see the work required (especially the effort required for hair samples)  

I really enjoyed our trip to Ascot Angus & Charolais Stud. Jim and Jackie’s story and the cattle they are producing was really a credit to themselves. I personally loved looking at the different dam and sire lines, and their management practices and systems. It was also great to see Dunoon Prime Minister in the flesh.  

Our farm visit to Dunmore Pastoral was also a great commercial contrast. Was good to see the Optiweigh system in use, a pretty incredible bit of technology to be able to weigh and accumulate weights and weight gain trends in your cattle while they remain completely stress free in the paddock. I would love to be able to justify the use of it on a smaller scale.  

One thing I really noticed was the terrain and climate conditions being so vastly different to what I am used to at home, and how that altered the farming practices and selection and management systems. I was able to note the pros and cons when comparing it to home in South Gippsland.  

Kerwee Feedlot and Oakey Abattoir were eye opening. I thought I knew what an abattoir and feedlot looked like, but these were just next level. The sheer size and scale of the operations and all the moving parts to make a business like this work was unreal.   

Was a great and valuable life experience to truly be able to understand the full process of this part of the supply chain. I don’t think the majority of people would understand the size, complexity, skill, and process that each bit of meat you eat actually goes through to get to your plate.  

Our last stop was Super Butcher in Brisbane. This was something I had never seen before, and it made me feel like I needed to grab a shopping trolley and buy all the beautiful meat on offer. The business really added that next level of value to the customer’s experience. I thought that they’d done a fantastic job in creating a business model that makes people want to come back, and as a customer you could easily do your homework on the different brands of meat on offer and make your own mind up as to what you were after.  

Thank you so much to Angus Australia and Neogen for giving me this experience, and especially to Nancy for putting this together and making it happen.   

Most importantly, my favourite part of the trip were the other participants I was lucky enough to do the tour with.   

It was such a great experience to jump on a bus full of likeminded people and road trip around Queensland, I am very grateful for the networking opportunity, and I hope to see everyone at one point or another again.  

It’s never a dull time when you’re out seeing, talking, and working with beef and cattle! The inaugural Neogen Angus Production Tour was a great opportunity to view the whole supply chain of southeast Queensland. It not only broadened my knowledge of the needs and wants of each link in the chain but importantly highlighted the potential opportunities and challenges that lie on the road ahead.  

The three days travelling around SE Queensland exposed us to family operations right up to major international businesses. Whilst there were many important take home learnings from the tour, a few major points which overlapped throughout the businesses surrounded technology, relationships, feedback and consumer understanding.   

At Neogen Australasia Labs we witnessed how hair and tissue samples are processed beyond the farm gate and gained insight into the new technologies which have enabled faster, more accurate genomic and genetic condition testing. Technology advancements are something that the beef industry must continually adopt to and evolve with in order to remain ahead of economic strain and public perception. As seedstock producers, gaining understanding into what goes in to generating the data we rely so heavily upon was invaluable for all.   

Jim and Jackie of Ascot Cattle Co highlighted the importance of working closely with clients and absorbing their feedback. Through listening to producers and observing gaps in the market they successfully manage not just one but two breeds of quality seedstock. Jim and Jackie’s integration with clients to help them achieve their goals and also better their own seedstock was an important note to their success.  

Moving along in the tour – developing relationships with the next step in the supply chain, whether that be selling to a feed yard, an abattoir or a butcher, proves beneficial to all parties involved far beyond just that of a dollar figure. This was evident when touring through Dunmore Pastoral, Stockyard Feedlot, NH Food Oakey Beef Exports Abattoir and the Super Butcher in Eagle Farm. The integration seen between some of these businesses really reinforced the importance of feedback back down the line. It’s value in identifying strengths and weaknesses of animal performance, livestock handling, feeding regimes and carcase breakdown to continuously improve the supply of beef to consumers is integral.   

Our final stop on the tour to Eagle Farm Super Butcher raised awareness of the increasing demand from consumers seeking to understand where their food is coming from and the confidence that the product will perform on the plate, again and again and again. It was a fitting note to end our production tour on, proving everyone in the supply chain has an important role to play in maintaining high standards of consistent, quality Australian beef.   

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and would like to thank Angus Australia and Neogen Australasia for the generous opportunity they provided to myself and the other participants. Also, a massive thank you to all the businesses that opened their doors and gave up valuable time to show us their part of the production line. I strongly suggest young members that haven’t been exposed to southeast Queensland and these types of operations to apply and see what’s on offer.  

I applied for the Neogen Angus Foundation Production Tour to gain insight into the whole beef production chain local to me, and to meet other young Angus members who I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have met otherwise. The experience I had whilst in this tour was extremely valuable, and I am incredibly grateful for Angus Australia for providing me with this opportunity. 

On day one of the trip, our tour began with a visit to the Neogen lab in Ipswich with a tour of the facility provided by Harry Stewart. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the process of preparing the DNA samples for testing and was able to see how accurate the timeline of giving and receiving these sample is. Following on from this, we had a tour at Ascot Angus where we were able to view their sale bulls for their 2023 sale. It was great to see their bull Dunoon Prime Minister P758 in the flesh, along with some of their other bulls they are currently using within their herd. Day two of the tour began with a drive to Cecil Plains to the commercial operation at Dunmore Pastoral. Here we inspected some of their commercial steer and female herds and got to see the Optiweigh system in action. From here we went to the Cecil Plains pub for a talk with a representative from Mort & Co about their operation, with of course another pub meal.  Stockyard Beef at Kerwee feedlot near Jondaryan was our last stop for the day. This was the one of the highlights of the trip for me. I really enjoyed going through their feed shed, inspecting their pens. It’s an extremely well-presented feedlot, and it was impressive to see how well this operation was run and maintained with feeding such a high quality of cattle. Day three started with a visit at Oakey Abattoir and was another highlight of the trip. From previous visits to the facility, I had already been able to look over the boning room facility. In this tour, we were able to see the whole process from live animals, and it was interesting to see this done in such an efficient and well-coordinated way.  From here we moved on to Super Butcher at Eagle farm, with a quick stop at MLA in Bowen Hills. Super Butcher is a well-run operation, and it was great to see meat products from other places we had already visited such as Stockyard Beef and Oakey Abattoir. This was a really great way to round off the whole tour.   

As someone coming from such a small and new stud operation with show cattle knowledge, this experience taught me a lot about the commercial and supply chain aspect of the beef industry that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to otherwise.  Seeing the cycle of breeding to feeding and meat production, including stud and commercial aspects, butchers and genetic testing labs was very informative.  It was also great to see how different operations run and their reasonings for this, as well as their selection criteria and their goals and target markets.  Seeing the why and the how of these operations was very interesting, and I learnt many things that I can now take back to my own operation and incorporate.   

I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and got to meet a lot of great people from different parts of Australia with different experiences and backgrounds. I would highly recommend this tour for any future participants, as it is such a valuable experience.   

I was lucky enough to spend 3 days towards the end of July with other members of the young Angus community touring a variety of Angus focused production systems around southeast QLD.  The eight of us had a variety of different experiences in many parts of the Australian beef industry. The opportunity I was presented with was not only to see some of the best operators in the business, but to meet people who shared my passion for advancing the beef industry in Australia. 

After meeting everyone and getting to know each other a bit better on the Tuesday night, we headed to the Neogen headquarters where I both got to nerd out on some very cool pieces of scientific technology, but also participate in an informative discussion around different DNA strategies, the importance of testing and genomics in creating strong breeding objectives and advancing herd development as well as tips and tricks from an operational standpoint. We also discussed other services that Neogen provides and how we have either used them or envision using them in our respective areas for everything from producing carbon neutral beef to challenges and benefits of DNA testing heifers. 

We then piled back in our minibus traveled to Ascot Angus, which was my first behind the scenes exposure to an operation that breeds animals solely for the purposes of a stud sale. Jim and Jackie where happy to show us every little detail of their operation, from their top-of-the-line bulls that makeup the cornerstone of their breeding operation to the land and animal management techniques they use to keep their business productive and easy to operate. They were happy to answer any questions we had and whilst touring the bulls selected for their upcoming sale. I got to pick the brains of both Jim & Jackie and the other participants whose operations focus on stud sales. To hear the opinions of some of the best in the business on what makes a good stud animal and what they look for to get proven results out of every animal they breed was an unreal opportunity.

On Thursday we were joined by Scott Wright for our tour with Tim Clay at Dunmore Pastoral. We peppered Tim with questions surrounding his operation on everything from his pasture development practices, how he selects his purchased backgrounders, his bull selection and how he makes his breeding decisions.  Tim was very keen to talk about the success he has had with seeding mixed species pasture and using an Optiweigh system to manage his backgrounders. As a group we discussed how the Angus and Angus influenced cattle performed, and Tim’s ability to secure a guaranteed market at a premium due to his access to real time information on every animal. Tim joined us for lunch at the Cecil Plains pub where Jack Wilkinson from Mort & Co gave a presentation on the evolution of their business and the markets they sell to, and how that influences the cattle they were targeting. Nancy had the almost impossible job of trying to hold us to a schedule, as her advice to “never leave a question unasked” came back to haunt her as the group spent up to the last possible second talking everything about cattle, breeding and agriculture with Tim and Jack.

We made our appointment at Stockyard Feedlot just in time, where we were given a tour of the yard and feeding facilities. This time the roles were reversed from the stud visit, where I got to talk to other tour members about my experience in lot feeding cattle and how my experience further west compared to what Stockyards experienced. We talked about vaccination practices and how Stockyard has seen a health improvement with the new immune ready vaccination status. The most exciting part of the tour was seeing the GrowSafe system of feed intake measuring devices, as well as their new methane recording equipment and hearing about the advancements that are being made in both the Angus breed, as well as the business of feeding cattle in general. Scott also made an effort over the course of the day to get feedback from each and every one of us, about what worked and what didn’t and what else Angus Australia could do to help each one of our businesses at home.  

 Friday saw us make the trip to the Abattoir at Oakey where we toured their processing and storage plant. We saw firsthand how various Angus products get graded and selected for different customers and markets. This up close and personal look at the end product highlighted the effects that decisions about target carcase traits in breeding selection can have on the end product, and what markets are focused on what traits. We also observed the packing and storage plants located on the same grounds, giving us a full overview of the process from animal to boxed beef product. 

 For a more depth explanation of the grading and overseas marketing process, we visited MLA’s head office in Brisbane where the whole science behind the MSA grade was explained, and we saw how breed composition and individual carcase traits affected the quality of the beef, and how Angus as a breed is uniquely positioned as a breed to capture our own section of the beef market.  

We finished off the tour at Super Butcher headquarters in Brisbane, where we toured the facility and had another group discussion. It was good to be with a group who understood the importance of the customer to the beef industry. There were many questions about what the customer has been asking for, and how customers’ expectations were evolving. It was good to be a part of a group of people who understand just how important that information is to our industry. 

A huge thank you must go to all the tour locations, who were exceptionally welcoming and informative and gave us so much of their time. However, I found the biggest advantage of this tour was getting to spend 3 days with a group of people who share my passion for a better beef industry. The level of involvement, the willingness of everyone to share their experiences, offer advice and ask questions of each other is something I’ve only experienced rarely. The ability to share lessons learned and different perspectives from time spent on northern breeding blocks, to hearing the challenges of selling cattle in Tasmania.  I hope that everyone I met on this tour, and the networks I’ve made help me through the rest of career in agriculture. I would like to extend a massive thankyou to Neogen, Angus Australia and their youth program, for providing this experience, and bringing together all other participants in the tour. 

The Neogen Angus Foundation Production Tour was a huge success, so firstly I’d like to thank all the those involved for organising, sponsoring and freely giving their time. The scope of the trip covered the entire supply chain in Southeast Qld which was excellent to step through across the three days.   

Getting to know like-minded, talented and passionate young people from varied locations and backgrounds was a highlight of the trip for myself. I will definitely be asking advice and questions of them in years to come and visiting their studs/operations.    

The Neogen visit was fascinating as I have a keen interest in genomics and science, coupled with a background in laboratory management. We have already ordered TSU units from the territory manger we met on the day and will be tissue sampling this year’s spring calving. The continual advancements in technology were evident in the laboratory and showed the business’s dedication to the beef industry and the Angus breed.   

The breadth of information that the team at Ascot Cattle delivered was wonderful, and their story was very grounding. This has further inspired my family and myself to meet and achieve the goals we want to within our own seedstock stud. The quality of their animals was a pleasure to see, and the differences and similarities across the two breeds they run was interesting. A calf catcher similar to theirs is now on my wish list for Christmas this year.  

Tim Clay at Dunmore Pastoral was also very giving of his time and his use of multi species pasture planting is something we will incorporate going forward. Biosolids were an option we had never thought of previously for soil improvement but thanks to this tour, we are now going to investigate.   

The feed lotting and processing components of the tour showcased the breeds ability to perform, with heat stress pinpointed as a potential area for improvement. The breed has the talent to rise to this challenge, perhaps this is where further selection can enhance durability. Given my locality to these business’s I now have the opportunity to build relationships and directly sell our steer lines to them.  

I would highly recommend this tour to all age groups and backgrounds as it will provide an entire supply chain view, regardless of the location of your operation. The Angus Australia members and team whom I interacted with on this tour were professional and genuinely committed to the betterment of this breed, leaving a great impression of the society, well done team. 

The Inaugural Neogen Angus Foundation Production Tour incorporated touring, networking and learning within the beef supply industry in Queensland. My interest in attending the tour was to develop connections within the beef industry and explore how we, as seedstock producers, align within the beef supply industry. A key takeaway of mine was the theme at each business – networking and relationships within the industry.  

There were eight lucky recipients, including myself. Many kilometers were travelled, numerous questions asked and answered, and friendships were established. The learnings continued into each night while sitting down as a group for dinner. The variety of knowledge and experience throughout the Angus Youth members added to the experience.  

Our tour began with our first stop at the Neogen Lab in Ipswich. The tour and presentation by Nancy Crawshaw (Angus Australia) and Harry Stewart (Neogen Territory Manager – QLD) was insightful and focused on animal selection, genetic inheritance, testing and the links to EBV’s. Harry gave us a tour of the Neogen Lab and the entire genetic testing procedure, providing us as seedstock producers tips on how we can help improve the process and make it more efficient. Something that caught most of our attention was the procedure and timeliness of submitting tail hair samples rather than TSU’s. The lab attendant takes approximately 45 minutes to cut a tray of 96 samples for testing – individually cutting each follicle from the hair.  

Our visit to Dunmore Pastoral presented the importance of both genetic selection of herd sires and productivity tracking of progeny. Tim Clay gave an overview of his Optiweigh system that is placed in the paddock with an enticing cattle lick contained inside to encourage animals to step on the scales for real-time weight gain and management support for his herd.  

An observation was the importance of a brand within the beef industry. This is supported through the networking and relationships you build within the industry and the greater supply chain. Each business has its role to play within the supply chain and each is connected through a significant network/ relationship. Jim and Jackie Wedge at Ascot Charolais and Angus shared their belief in relationships, reputations and feedback. Particularly as a business – what you do with that feedback and how you can improve or solidify your reputation within the industry by reviewing and working with the feedback.  

One of our final stops was to Oakey Abattoir. We all gowned up and had a tour of the entire abattoir process. This was my first time touring an abattoir, I was surprised by the efficiency of the production line and the thorough quality and assurance procedures. We viewed the processes from the cattle yards through to the packaging of beef for export.  

Thank you to the Angus Youth Foundation, Angus Australia and Neogen for supporting our passion and interests within the beef cattle industry. I would encourage all those eligible to apply for future events. 

I took part in the Neogen Angus Foundation Production Tour because I have a commercial background, and I wanted to get more into the genetics because I am interested in that side of things.  I wanted to make contacts out of the tour and also just pick other people’s brains, not just the guys that we go and visit on the tour, but also the guys that are on this tour with me, as well see what they’re doing and try to implement that.

My key takeaway from the tour was going more in depth with the genetics side things and also seeing how these studs work in this area.

I was selected as part of a team of eight young individuals, from the beef industry, to take part in the inaugural Neogen Angus Foundation Production Tour of southeast Queensland. Together, with members from across Australia, coming far and wide for a great experience; to learn about the production system, within the beef industry. From the labs to the butcher, paddock to plate, we saw it all. Overall, it was an amazing experience where I made some fantastic connections that have proven valuable already. For someone in my position, who’s new to the beef industry, picking the brains of others is the best learning tool I can ask for. When I saw a tour with seven other like-minded individuals, to learn from experts in the field, it was an opportunity too good to pass up. I’ve never won anything before, so being selected by Angus Australia to participate was special.  

I thoroughly enjoyed our tour through the lab at Neogen Australasia Head Office with Harry and gaining a deeper understanding of the process of genetically testing our animals. Seeing the strides Neogen is taking within the field, the improvements they have already taken, upgrades they have made to their technology, makes me feel confident that we, in Australia, are in safe hands. The relationship with Angus Australia fills you with confidence that the future is looking bright. With programs like AngusGS, Neogen are giving us every opportunity to further improve our herds and get the most out of our genetic testing. Which is why it is so important to collect the data and find the EBV’s that is most suited to your breeding operation. 

The day I took the most away from was the visit to Dunmore Pastoral, run by Tim Clay. Tim has an ‘out of the box thinking’ to what he brings into his farm. By using bio-waste as fertilizer and crops some would consider weeds, he makes the most out of other people’s waste. Later that day we went to the Kerwee Stockyard Feedlot, where it is the only feedlot that is free from genetically modified materials; another highlight of this program for me. 

It’s that kind of lateral thinking that I want to bring back into Barnett Angus, and to make the most of what is available in the local market, whether that be feed supplement, fertilizer, or recycled materials. Having a unique touch on our business is always a bonus, reaching people you might not have reached before, just by peaking interests. In the age we are entering, being environmentally wise is something that all new farmers are going to be rewarded for in future to come. Our industry is so diverse in how we can operate our farms that finding the best way yours can operate, just might be different to your neighbors, so taking a risk on something new and different might be the answer you are looking for.  

This production tour offered so much that I would highly recommend it to any other aspiring Angus farmers. I’ve taken away a lot of knowledge that I want to implement into our business. Most of all I’ve made some great contacts in the field, and met some sharp minds in Alkira, Charlie, Georgia, Tom, Tyla, Sarah and Cooper, that I look forward to working with in the future, and watching the progress they all make.