Award-winning Queensland graziers, Scott and Katie Lloyd talk to us about their ambitious expansion strategy. Read how their partnership with NAB and willingness to learn have contributed to their success.

Planning to grow and succeed into the future

The Lloyds have pulled off an ambitious plan to double the capacity of their Chinchilla feedlot in less than a decade. How have they achieved this? By implementing stock management systems and being willing to take advice.

Lloyd Pastoral has a 9,500-head capacity and turns off around 30,000 cattle a year, with sales split evenly between Woolworths and the 100-day grain-fed export market.

The business was crowned Agricultural Supplier of the Year by Woolworths in 2013. A supplier to the supermarket chain for three decades, the award recognised its compliance with company and MSA standards as well as its progressive approach to husbandry.

Plans are in train for further expansion of the enterprise, with the feedlot likely to reach its licence limit of 10,980 early next decade.

Start with a good succession plan

Formerly owned by Scott’s parents, John and Anne Lloyd, Wieambilla is a 3,440-hectare property in the Western Downs region and has been home to a feedlot since the 1970s.

Running it was a two-generation affair from 2002 until 2009, when succession planning culminated in Scott and Katie taking the reins.

It was a big step for the couple but faith in one another gave them confidence to put their own stamp on the operation.

“Scott’s parents had been extremely successful, and they instilled a really good work ethic in him,” Katie says.

“I guess we were pretty nervous but… we were confident we had a great foundation to build on.”

Using technology and systems to increase capacity

In 2014, the Lloyds constructed an additional row of pens, to take the feedlot’s capacity from 5,000 head to 7,000. It was a significant investment that necessitated a review of operations and greater embrace of technology.

While relishing opportunities to remain hands-on – “We still truck cattle together in the afternoons when the workers have knocked off early, and we both love doing that” – the couple recognised that to survive and thrive they needed to delegate and systemise.

“Our staff numbers had to go up. We were sourcing more cattle and more grain. We knew we had to put technology in place to monitor the animals and get everything running smoothly,” Katie says.

“Expanding successfully meant looking at the bigger picture and part of that was acknowledging that our cattle are a really valuable commodity – particularly in the past five years with markets being very high – and that we really needed to have our finger on the pulse, with where we were, day to day.”

Implementing the StockaID and Feedlot3000 animal management systems has provided access to a large amount of data that wasn’t available in the old days of stock sheets and physical inspections.

“Being able to track animals from the day they arrive to the day they leave gives us a picture of how they perform, both individually and as part of a lot of cattle,” Katie says.

“There’s the ability to really hone in on a particular animal and perhaps work out why they haven’t done well, what the story could be.”

The feedlot’s capacity increased again in 2017, to 9,500 head, following the addition of another laneway of pens. The purchase of a neighbouring 445-hectare property the same year has also enabled the operation to produce more of its own fodder.

Partnering with NAB for finance and support

NAB financed both stages of the feedlot expansion, the purchase of additional land and other business improvements.

Its relationship with Lloyd Pastoral is an enduring one.

“We’ve always been NAB clients – both of us are from a long lineage of NAB families!” Katie says.

“Our vision for growth and progression has meant an increased reliance on NAB backing us and we have faith in our ability to work together and meet our obligations.

“NAB have been great advisers and we value the contribution and faith they have in us as clients, and the support they’ve provided that’s helped drive our business forward.”

Using professional networks and expert advice

Enlisting expert assistance on all fronts has helped the expanded operation maintain its long-time reputation for quality during a time of rapid growth.

“Both Scott and I are good communicators and we’ve surrounded ourselves with a great network of people who help us make the business better – vets, nutritionists, our accountant, our bankers, the cattle buyers we’ve been working with for a long time,” Katie says.

“We’re very passionate about what we do and when we don’t know something we’re happy to go and look for information and take advice.

“We’re constantly assessing whether we’re on point; doing internal reviews to see where our inefficiencies lie and what we could be doing better.

“We never stop learning.”

Important information

The information contained in this article is correct as of November 2019 and is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.

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