About Us

Our History

The Smith family’s involvement in the community as business operators has been long standing. In the early 1920’s Alf Smith migrated from Ireland and settled in the South Burnett region, where in 1928 he together with Bob Levitt opened a butcher shop in Hivesville. In order to satisfy demand, a second butcher shop was opened in 1937 in Blake Street Proston. A third butcher shop located at Kinleymore was also operational around the same time and an abattoir was established in the area to supply these outlets.

The Smithfield enterprise began operating as a lot feeder on July 2nd 1986. The feedlot quickly expanded and currently has the capacity to accommodate approximately 18,500 head of cattle at any one time. There were however some significant hardships that Smithfield Feedlot had to endure before evolving into the state-of-the-art feedlot operation that it is today.

The beef market crash of 1990 had a devastating impact on Smithfield, leaving the feedlot with just six head of cattle placed on feed. Following this however, beef prices began to resurrect and the feedlot continued its development. A second beef market crash during 1996/1997 saw grain fed beef prices plummet once again. This proved to be another serious test for Smithfield, however the feedlot swiftly recovered once beef prices began to restore.

From this period on, Smithfield Feedlot has secured valuable supply contracts with long-term customers, many of which have continued to develop to this day. In 1998, the feedlot began tempering grain. This was the first major change in the way in which grain was processed at the feedlot. From 1998 to 2000 all facets of operation at Smithfield Feedlot were expanded, with pen space, cattle numbers and employee numbers all steadily increasing.

A major upgrade of the feed mill at Smithfield Feedlot was undertaken in 2000, with the implementation of a fully computerised grain tempering and rolling system. Early in 2001, Smithfield Feedlot began steam flaking grain and saw a tremendous increase in grain utilization and cattle performance. Smithfield currently operates three steam flaking mills to process mainly sorghum, barley and wheat.

Today, Smithfield Cattle Company has evolved into one of Australia’s premier feedlot operations, especially with the purchase of a second custom feeding facility, Sapphire Feedlot at Goondiwindi. Smithfield Cattle Company has also become increasingly involved in research and development with a number of projects ongoing and a number planned for the near future. This research participation has allowed the company to play a key role in developing and implementing new technologies that ensure the two feedlots are at the forefront of applying industry best practice across all areas of its custom feeding operations.