Based in South-east Queensland, Cultivate Agri Partnerships brings patient, private capital and deep industry-expertise to support highly skilled, passionate Australian farming operators to create and develop regenerative land management projects and research and development led primary production systems.
Currently, they manage five properties through Somerset Region, Queensland. “At the moment our primary production focus is in cattle genetics; we are currently building an internal breeding program where we hope to have 5,000 breeders within five years,” says Cultivate Agri’s Managing Director, Chris Simpson. “Our land strategy is a simple one: we buy properties that have strong structural potential (i.e., soils and water), but for one reason or another have had periods of over-grazing/stress; we then look to implement several techniques that aim to restore them back to the way they should be.”
“To date, our key methods have been – most critically – extended periods of rest, then internal fencing – we have recently installed 20 kilometres of internal fencing, increased water points, and are employing a vast array of technologies. The tech includes DNA testing, Ceres ear tags, FarmBot water monitoring, Land Watch Remote Monitors, CiboLabs pasture monitoring and water supplementation. Bringing it all together is AgriWebb livestock enterprise management software.”
“Through the use of technology, we are confident that we can enhance our systems and processes and thus enable our people to spend more time on key strategic land and animal welfare tasks, rather than being tied down by the many menial tasks inherent with running multiple farms across multiple districts.”
“We are thrilled with the development of AgriWebb, we have been a subscriber for three years now and are greatly benefiting from the centralised point for our data records that aid both compliance and day-to-day management. Equally, we continue to benefit from the integrations of some of our existing data subscriptions within the AgriWebb platform i.e., CiboLabs/FarmBot”.
Improving the land and increasing profits
Restoring the landscape makes environmental and economic sense for Chris. “The regenerative push is here to stay – we’re in talks with a major natural assets fund now, and our operations need to align with that,” he says. “The manner in which we are keeping our records and what data we are capturing are assisting compliance within this field.”
On a personal level, he’s enjoyed seeing grazing lands thrive again thanks to new technology and material investment in more sustainable grazing systems and practices being implemented. “We have got a young family, with kids aged five, three and one, and we’re out there weekly. Raising young kids amidst these transformational projects has proven to be a wonderful experience. We are confident that exposing children to the key fundamentals of a healthy land and primary production system will do wonders for their respect for food and where it has come from.”
“Seeing it all unfold has been a beautiful experience. It’s an awful lot of work, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have without our operations manager, Patrick Burke, but we’re incredibly passionate about it. It’s the right thing to do for the environment, and it’s the right thing for the animals,” Chris says.
“The real litmus will be when we get into dry times and see how our systems and operations preserve our genetics without neglecting the landscape. You’re not as anchored to genetics in a commercial operation, so you can sell off everything, but how do we manage as a bull production business where our number one asset is the animal and our genetics? What do you do in dry times?”
Cultivate Agri’s plan to attempt to partially mitigate the damage caused by dry spells is to have a geographic spread of properties within high rainfall zones. “We’ve got our core property set near Kilcoy, 100km from Brisbane, and another property set 50km south-west of that, around Esk. That geographic spread within high-rainfall zones, accompanied by a material internal fencing program and biomass measuring will equip ourselves with at least some tools to reduce the effect of drought on our herd numbers.”
AgriWebb will play an important role, monitoring feed on offer to better manage cattle movements. It will also help identify the cattle which do the best in tough conditions, helping to improve the herd for the long term. “One of our genetic focuses is on feed conversion, so the reports run through AgriWebb will be really useful to identify the outliers in terms of weight gain metrics,” Chris says.
“It is a wonderful tool to be able to measure the starting or base case of feed on offer, then bring the respective mobs through and record their weights then align with the post grazing feed-on-offer data. This will provide us with the ability to assess feed conversion within our herds. Additionally, we are really excited by this CiboLabs integration by assisting our cost-benefit exercises of native versus improved grasses.”
Bringing transparency to cattle trading
As well as improving operations on the farm, Cultivate Agri sees AgriWebb helping with the marketing of its cattle. There is a lot of talk about traceability for consumers, and while Chris is excited about those opportunities, he points out it’s also important at the other end of the supply chain.
“In my opinion, increasing corporate buying pressure will place downward pressure on bull prices. Accompanied with this will be further due diligence requirements on data quality.” It is foreseeable that the phenotypic basis for buying bulls will need to stack-up to the environment where the animal was raised”.
Cultivate Agri video records births, then DNA tests, weighs, and scans calves within 24 hours of their hitting the ground. “Through AgriWebb, you’ll be able to track the whole life cycle of an animal from its birth through until you sell it,” Chris says.
And through that life cycle, the increased efficiencies and powerful insights gained through AgriWebb will help secure Australia’s farming future. “What’s appealing about the cattle industry in Australia is its long history of producing a quality product. The Australian grazing history is underpinned by many many wonderful family businesses – these families are the backbone of the industry,” Chris says. “Now, I believe that we as an industry can continue to deliver that quality product far more efficiently and sustainably.”
If you’d like to learn more about how AgriWebb can improve the profitability, efficiency and sustainability of your operation, try our free interactive demo today!