Rangers Valley feedlot's $20m upgrade to put it among country's best

BOOMING INDUSTRY: Rangers Valley managing director Keith Howe said the $20 million upgrade will mean more jobs, more cows and more money for Glen Innes. Pictures: Andrew Messenger.
BOOMING INDUSTRY: Rangers Valley managing director Keith Howe said the $20 million upgrade will mean more jobs, more cows and more money for Glen Innes. Pictures: Andrew Messenger.

A $20 million dollar upgrade will help make Rangers Valley Cattle station one of the most competitive integrated feedlots in the country, according to its managing director.

The upgrade, set to be their largest injection of investment in over twenty years, will increase the station's capacity from 33,000 to 40,000 high grade beef cattle, and mean between 6 and 10 new jobs.

Managing Director Keith Howe said it brought a smile to his face to be able to give the community good news during the worst drought on record. And the $20m expansion won't be their last.

Work started at the site last week, according to Ranger's Valley managing director Keith Howe.

Work started at the site last week, according to Ranger's Valley managing director Keith Howe.

"Certainly I've been very focused on growing our production," he said.

"It was about three years ago that we had a concerted effort to take cattle beyond our capacity here; so when we hit 33,000 rather than stopping we started to place cattle into other feedlots.

"The fact that we are going from 33,000 to 40,000 - and we will still have cattle in other feedlots so it's not like we're going to go to 40,000 and then not hold that operating capacity, our intentions are that we're going to hold that position; and not come back from that - hopefully not.

"Our growth will still be beyond (that) in other feedlots."

He said they were selling most of their product to China, but had also managed to diversify their customer base, cracking into markets in both the EU and the US.

That means they've got enough demand to increase capacity and grow what is already one of the biggest high-end beef feedlots in Australia.

The two-stage plan: to shift 7000 cattle from out-of-date pens into new ones then demolish and replace the old ones.

The multi-million dollar upgrade should be completed by April next year. Work started last week.

"It's a fairly fast build and as you can see they're not wasting any time in what they've done already."

Mr Howe said the investment should help make the feed lot best in class in the country.

"The upgrade here into the physical structure along with what we're already doing will see us best in class in what we do.

"As far as producing a quality article consistently out of this operation we're already up there as a well-recognised brand of beef.

"When I talk to chefs around the world the things they always talk about is the consistency of our product so if Rangers Valley is all about delivering high quality consistently then this upgrade is only going to support us in that.

"There's nothing more satisfying than sitting in front of end users that absolutely value the raw ingredient that you're giving them for them to create their creativity on, as far as creating a meal."

Mr Howe said the upgrade would mean not just more jobs, but a 25 per cent increase in commodity purchases and more work for contractors - forever.

Rangers Valley employs 50 people in Glen Innes plus another ten in Warwick. They feed both Angus and Wagyu beef cattle, and sell largely for the high end premium export market including restaurants in the US, EU and China.