Delivering premium quality products is at the core of the Gill family’s integrated meat chain business based at Merriwa and that includes buyers of their range of customisable stock feeds.
The family-owned business is named after their Hunter Valley home property, “Alexander Downs”, which is now part of a 3237ha (8000 acre) aggregation which includes a feedlot, feedmill and piggery.
Completing their paddock to plate enterprise is a wholesale meat business and an abattoir at Kurri Kurri near Maitland.
Director of Alexander Downs, Robert Gill, said at the height of the drought the mill was producing around 1100 tonnes of feed a week.
The feed rations are made from cereal grain and oilseeds including wheat, barley, oats, lupins and canola plus mineral and vitamin premixes.
They have had to source grain from as far away as South Australia and Western Australia because of the current drought in the eastern states which has added to feedmill costs but Mr Gill said the family won’t compromise on quality.
Recent storms and rain have brought welcome relief to some areas but not yet to Alexander Downs where some of the 800-cow breeding herd are being fed five to six kilograms of cattle feed mix every second day and all cows are fed four kilograms of cottonseed on the alternate day.
The cows are mainly Angus with about 100 black baldies which are joined to Limousins.
Mr Gill said the family was proud of their Angus herd and had regularly sourced bulls from leading Angus stud, Millah Murrah, at Bathurst.
Heifers from the top 150 Angus cows are kept for herd replacements.
The mill, run by Mr Gill’s son, Michael, has been operating since 1994. The feedlot is run by another son, Stephen.
“We are proud of the reputation of our feed,” Mr Gill said.
The beef feed mixes include starter and finishing rations, paddock supplements, show rations and calf feeds.
A range of dairy cattle feeds are also available along with sheep rations for paddock feeding.
Alexander Downs operates two bulk feed trucks which can deliver 13-tonne loads while the feed mixes are also available in bags and bulka bags.
Among the feedmill’s valued customers are a large number of schools with beef show teams.
Many of the hoof and hook winners entered by schools and producers at the recent Upper Hunter Beef Bonanza at Scone were fed on Alexander Downs feedlot rations.
The company is a keen sponsor of Beef Bonanza which is now the largest youth event in Australia for beef enthusiasts.
The Gill family is focused on maintaining the pastures and natural environment to produce a naturally raised and sustainable product.