Producer strives for bold breed plans and cutting-edge technology

FUTURE PLAN: Prue Bondfield is co-principal of Palgrove.
FUTURE PLAN: Prue Bondfield is co-principal of Palgrove.

PRUE Bondfield is a seed stock producer who has a lot to do with cutting edge research and development technologies and perhaps that is why she was a keynote speaker for the North Australia Beef Research Conference.

The south-east Queensland based producer, who is co-principal of Palgrove, admitted she and the company have more to do with sustainable and cutting edge technology than an average commercial producer, as her product was in the beginning of the production line, down into commercial beef production.

So naturally Prue talked to the 271 delegates who descended on Rockhampton for the three-yearly conference about the sustainable technologies used in her business.

"One is breed plan, the second one is the DNA testing for boldness, which is certainly a real boost for the industry, and the third one was artificial reproduction and how it will have such a positive effect on northern beef cattle production," Ms Bondfield said.

"Artificial insemination is because when you put bulls out in extensive pastures you don't know if they're working, if they've died, if they're fighting, if their unhappy and sitting under a tree, you don't know what's going on.

"With real time insemination, which is really starting to take off in the north, you have a number of females that you are joining, you know how many there are, you will have a preg test on the result, you know what day they're joined and you can get more of an information update I suppose on that reproductive cycle.

"It's just terrific because it starts us thinking about the things that are hindering and barriers to reproduction, so it starts us thinking about a whole lot of other things apart from just the joining of females and I think it's a real boost for Northern Australia."

Ms Bondfield said the skill set within Northern Australia was increasing along with the technology and the people involved and now was the perfect time to look at how businesses were run thanks to high cattle prices.

"Cattle prices are terrific, it's been a long time coming, we know it's a cycle, we know the reasons behind the cycle.

"They were fairly obvious to us this time last year, we knew this was coming, however this is a really good time to actually get ready and prepare for the next cycle because we all know there will be one. What that looks like we don't know yet and how long the next cycle may last based on a downward trend we don't know.

"It's a really good time to assess our businesses, start to look at our profit drivers, start to look at the things we understand about our own businesses.

"Forget about everyone else's, we've got to understand our own.

"I really think when things are good and there's a little money in the bank, hopefully we can change some practices we have and it's a perfect time to do it."

Libby Homer, who is who is the chair of the Northern Beef Research Update Conference Committee, said one issue which was addressed at the conference was the obvious disconnect between production and research when it came to the beef industry.

"So we have 271 delegates from across the whole of north Australia in Rockhampton for three days and it's basically an update in what research has been conducted across the north, plus an opportunity to showcase Rockhampton," she said.

Ms Homer said the conference was held every three years and this year's focused on the theme "it's time to connect".

"The theme of the event is it's time to connect and in my years of involvement in research I was really aware of this obvious disconnect between production and research.

"We're trying to actually build those bridges and strengthen those partnerships and make it more dynamic, which is a bit of an underlying theme through our keynote speakers at the conference."

Topics:  cattle industry farming livestock palgrove rockhampton warwick

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