Investing in operational success with Black Box Co

Lyndavale Cattle Co manager - South Australia Operations, Lily Stanes collecting data crush-side, which is then uploaded to Black Box. Picture: CONTRIBUTED.

Collecting and recording data for compliance purposes has long been a tedious task for many graziers.

The Stanes family of Lyndavale Cattle Co in the Northern Territory however, has found the secret to fast-tracking the process.

Gone are the days of countless spreadsheets and diary records, with the organic beef producers now using the Black Box Co system to collate individual animal data and provide key insights for use in decision making.

A fourth-generation family-owned and -operated business, Lyndavale Cattle Co produces grass-fed, certified organic and EU-accredited beef spanning three stations and 7250km2 in Central Australia.

They also own and operate several farms in South Australia.

With a strong ethical approach to managing both the land and livestock, the Stanes family focuses on sustainable stocking rates across the three properties – Lyndavale Station, Mount Ebenezer Station and De Rose Hill Station – in such a way that allows their Angus/Charolais-cross herd to be fattened in an environment with low rainfall.

Maintaining organic certification requires keeping records and data to meet audit requirements, which Lyndavale Cattle Co manager – South Australia Operations, Lily Stanes said was historically tedious.

“In the past we relied mostly on spreadsheets and diary records to satisfy traceability requirements, which was time-consuming to keep updated,” Ms Stanes said.

“We have always been good at collecting livestock data, however, the move to Black Box has certainly saved a lot of time when it comes to preparing for organic audits for each property.”

Gaining insights into productivity and profitability

The benefits of using Black Box is not limited to data inside the farm gate. Producers can access information about their stock through the supply chain, allowing them to gain insights into the production system and make better and more informed decisions.

This means producers can access carcase data on individual animals from processors – data that had not previously been used by the Stanes family.

“For 2.5 years, we have been inducting all our weaner stock into Black Box and are now starting to see carcase results, which is very exciting,” Ms Stanes said.

“While we are a few years away yet, I’m looking forward to the time when our entire herd has been inducted and is active on Black Box.

“This will allow us to easily track cattle numbers across properties and provides a tool to assist with forecasting income for budgeting purposes.”

The future looks bright with Black Box

Having the records and data readily available for organic certification remains a key motivator for Lyndavale.

Ms Stanes said Black Box was now used to assist with compliance for all organic certifications and some of its European Union Cattle Accreditation Scheme (EUCAS) certifications, particularly relating to animal traceability requirements.

“I now only need to log into Black Box during an audit and all the records are there, readily available for the auditor to view,” she said.

“The ability to search for individual animals and view their lifetime data has made compliance with traceability requirements very easy and I’m able to demonstrate an animal’s history, from weaning induction data, treatment records and movement and transfers all the way through to carcase results.”

Alleviating decision paralysis

Black Box co-founder and CEO Shannon Speight said Lyndavale Cattle Co was one of many clients who had been able to streamline data utilisation, supercharge their livestock insights and improve decision-making via the cloud-based system.

“Whether you’re a seasoned grazier or just starting in the cattle data game, we believe Black Box can be utilised by every farmer, for every herd,” Mrs Speight said.

“Often, taking that first step into data – or finding a way to elevate your current livestock insights and analysis process – can be stymied by decision paralysis.”

Mrs Speight said investing in the Black Box Co system through their latest innovation, the Data Starter Bundle, would be an investment in your operation’s success.

“The Data Starter Bundle has a number of key inclusions, such as two dashboards, unlimited users, templates and a data consultation,” she said.

“We know increased efficiency, optimised workflows and data-driven decisions lead to healthier herds and a more profitable bottom line.

“The Black Box team is committed to helping Australian beef producers succeed in business and believe optimising raw production data from across the beef supply chain to inform prediction, forecasting and key production insights is a game-changer.”