One of the biggest cattle companies in Australia says it is looking to diversify its beef business, with plans to start trialling crops in northern Australia.
Consolidated Pastoral Company (CPC) runs nearly 400,000 head of cattle across 16 stations and is looking to trial sorghum and some other crops on one of its stations near Katherine.
Chief executive officer Troy Setter said despite the company currently going through a sale process, it hoped to have sorghum in the ground at Manbulloo Station by the end of the year.
“We’ve still got some applications to work through and also some approvals, but at this stage it’s looking pretty good,” Mr Setter said.
“But if it’s not this year, hopefully it’s next.”
Reasons to diversify
According to Mr Setter the company was investing in the trials for a number of reasons, including to create another source of income outside of cattle.
“There’s a couple of opportunities. One is to increase the productivity of our cattle to increase the amount of green feed that’s in front of them in length of time and energy.
“We’re still working through that, but we’re certainly committed to developing and looking at all opportunities in northern Australia.”
Mr Setter said it also made sense for the company to try and grow some of its own feed, to save on freight costs, as some feed is currently trucked up from the south.
“The supplementary feed for young cattle we bring up from southern Australia, [and] we do have to freight up starch.
“Unfortunately, most of the feed and supplements that go to cattle in northern Australia are either processed or grown down south.
“There’s many people now starting to develop cropping in northern Australia, and hopefully this will see more starch and more protein for cattle produced [in the north].”
Mr Setter said longer term there was also opportunity for the company to grow crops such as cotton and corn on its other properties.
“Some of those opportunities were developed in the 1990s, but not executed on, and hopefully over the next couple of years we can start to [take up] these opportunities.
“There’s further work to do. We need level heads in terms of land title and access to water, and we are working closely with the Territory Government to ensure that we can set up successful projects.”
Originally Published by ABC News, continue reading here.