Andrew Forrest’s agribusiness portfolio is set for a big expansion, with his Harvest Road Group planning a 60,000 head per year cattle development worth up to $50 million in the wheatbelt.
Harvest Road is controlled by Mr Forrest’s Minderoo Group, and owns the Harvey Beef brand.
The facility will be located near Moora and will sit on 17,000 acres, and the investment will include acquiring land and building feeding and finishing stations to produce a rolling output of 100-day-fed cattle.
The livestock will be processed at the company’s facility near Harvey.
That will lift output from the Harvey by around 40 per cent, and also ensure a steady supply of meat all year round.
Harvest chief executive Greg Harvey told Business News there was strong demand for 100-day-grain-finished cattle in Asia.
“We haven't been able to meet all that demand over the course of the year because of seasonal variation,” Mr Harvey said.
“This significant development is about taking out that inconsistency and getting us consistency of supply and quality through to the export market.
“This fills a significant gap that's been in the Western Australian beef supply chain structurally speaking.
“What we’re going to do here is create more consistency of supply into Harvey Beef, enabling us to run more days per week than we currently do during various times of the year.
He said WA’s position as a location with strong provenance credentials and as a pristine agricultural region would support a big expansion of supply
“On the market side, we don't have a constraint, the demand is there,” Mr Harvey said.
Animal welfare will also be a high priority, with technological innovation and a free range inspired feeding model.
It may well become a viable alternative for cattle producers who are currently in live exports, he said.
Overall, Minderoo's agribusiness portfolio contains 1.3 million hectares of pastoral land.