Interest in selling beef direct to customers in the so called 'paddock to plate' enterprise often increases as cattle prices fall.
This happens when livestock producers see their meagre returns from the saleyards compared to the retail prices of meat.
Recently there have been calls for the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission to investigate what some have called 'price gouging' for retail red meats given the dramatic fall in saleyards and over the hook prices.
However that is not the primary reason Travis Worth and his wife Phoebe decided to establish their 'paddock to plate' beef business Horeshoe Valley Beef.
"When producers were receiving $2500/head for their steers they probably weren't too worried about processing the steers themselves," said Mr Worth. "As you can buy plenty of prime cuts for that price. But as prices have fallen interest in homekill has increased. "But our main reason for starting this business is our continued interest and desire to see how the cattle we breed perform on the hook."
Mr Worth is a regular exhibitor in steer and carcase competitions gaining success with his mainly Charolais cross entries at major shows including the Brisbane 'Ekka'. Lessons learnt from these events about animal selection and feeding means he comes to his new business with plenty of understanding on what it takes to prepare good quality beef.
"Using the carcase feedback to direct our breeding and feeding regime is something we have been doing for awhile now. Selling that product direct is the next step and the feedback we receive from customers will continue to guide our operation," he said. "We believe we have the right product for the market and so far the feedback has been great."
Cattle produced on their 1250 acres property located at Martindale near Denman in the Upper Hunter is processed through Kurri Meats and then prepared for retail by Singleton butcher Craig Meyn.
In the future the Worth may consider investing a refrigerated trailer to deliver the orders to customers but so far the collection from Singleton to working very well.
The only difficulty at present is the severity of the ongoing drought in the Upper Hunter. "We usually run 150 breeders but we are now down to just 50," he said. "After two fabulous years this one has been hard and it has made us look at our breeding objectives yet again. We can really see what works on the farm and for sure it's the British breed females with not too much frame that are going well.
"We cross them with our stud Charolais bulls and those calves are performing for us.
He still operates his Charolais stud Bureen Cattle Company saying the hybrid vigour the cross producers is a must for their market. In breeding herd he looks softness and he is even running a few black baldies that are performing very well.