Husband and wife team Clayton and Jackie settled at Tulloch Brae, just north of Toowoomba, 18 years ago. The Sargoods were one of the first certified organic beef producers in Queensland. Clayton’s father wanted to explore pesticide free production after its exposure started to negatively impact his health. The family has continued to expand and diversify its business since then, with multiple breeder properties in western Queensland continually supplying the 1200 acre finishing farm, Tulloch Brae.
To ensure a consistent product, Clayton’s Organic beef is grain assisted. What does this mean in the world of pasture-fed organic beef? Animals are allowed to free range their whole lives and have continuous access to pasture, and no hormones, antibiotics or synthetic pesticides are used within their production. Cattle have the option of eating a 100% certified organic oaten hay, silage and grain mixture to complement the organic pasture they roam. This finishes the cattle faster (getting them up to market size) and may produce higher intramuscular marbling often associated with tenderness. This diet of natural grasses, organic sorghum and organic corn results in soft textured muscle for superior eating.
The team use low stress handling on horseback and export their product all over the world, in addition to selling to a number of stockists domestically. The United States is a key market for Clayton’s, having begun exporting there in 2011. Given the advanced organic program in the United States, Clayton’s beef is processed under HACCP, AUSMEAT and AQIS guidelines that are regularly audited and approved by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Exported beef is again inspected by USDA upon arrival in the country.
The Sargood’s are passionate about the organic industry and the need for Australian regulation of the term ‘organic’, both from a market access and consumer perspective. For more information about Clayton’s Organic Beef, head to their website. The business has also been trialling production of organic pigs, and they are set to expand this aspect of the enterprise in the near future.