The 2017 Farmer of the Year Awards

FORGET about paddock to plate: the Millner family have the beef industry wrapped up from source to main course.
The family, from central NSW, juggles running one of Australia’s biggest polled Charolais studs with a growing commercial enterprise and, more recently, a paddock-to-plate brand that is feeding the growing Asian appetite for quality beef.

The centrepiece of the operation, run across 6500 hectares in three districts at Blayney, Dubbo and Coonamble, is the Rosedale Charolais stud, founded in 1970 and the oldest registered Charolais herd in NSW selling more than 150 bulls a year.

The Rosedale herd comprises 400 registered Charolais females and 1200 predominantly Angus and Shorthorn commercial cows.

The stud cows are run at Blayney with the commercial herd split between Dubbo and Coonamble. It’s a strategic move aimed at drought-proofing the operation, according to brothers James and Robert Millner, who are in charge of the stud and commercial operations respectively.

The Rosedale herd is at the cutting edge of the industry with the use of science and technology paramount to the business. Breed pioneers when it comes to the uptake of Breedplan performance recording, the Millners have also used hybrid vigour as a way of lifting growth rates, and profits, both within their own herd and those of their clients.

In the commercial herd, the best 50 per cent of the steers and heifers are fattened on oat crops and lucerne silage, and sold to the Coles grass-fed program, with the remainder sent to a northern NSW feedlot where they are finished for the Millners’ Rosedale Ruby beef brand.

Rosedale Ruby started as “an exciting side venture” five years ago and has exceeded all expectations.

Throughput has grown from 50 cattle a month in 2012 to 600 now. China and Hong Kong are the biggest export markets for Rosedale Ruby, with Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Switzerland and the Middle East also prominent.

It is this worldly outlook, backed up by superior genetics, marketing and product, that makes Rosedale Charolais worthy winners of The Weekly Times Coles 2017 Beef Farmer of the Year.