REGIONAL PRIDE: Prue and David Bondfield, owners of Palgrove charolais stud at Dalveen have been named Australian Farmers of the Year at the Weekly Times Coles awards ceremony in Melbourne.
REGIONAL PRIDE: Prue and David Bondfield, owners of Palgrove charolais stud at Dalveen have been named Australian Farmers of the Year at the Weekly Times Coles awards ceremony in Melbourne. Ben Simpson

Bondfields take out top farming honour

DALVEEN stud owners Prue and David Bondfield have been named Australian Farmers of the Year for their innovation in the cattle industry.

The owners of Palgrove charolais stud took out the top honour at an award ceremony in Melbourne on Friday night.

Mr Bondfield said the couple was honoured to be nominated for the award and to represent the district with the win.

"We were named the Beef Farmer of the Year and then selected from the winners from beef, sheep, horticulture, grain and innovation as the overall winners,” he said.

"We didn't think we were the obvious choice but we're very humbled and honoured to be picked from an outstanding field of finalists.

"The panel who nominated us looked at our innovation and adaption of technology, as well as how the business has grown and how it functions.

"We're always proud that we come from the Granite Belt but we don't go out seeking awards - we just want to do what we do as best we can.”

Mr Bondfield said investing in genetics trading and export opportunities had helped them grow their business and capitalise on demand from Australian and overseas producers.

"We had the first live export of an ultrablack bull, along with a charolais, to Thailand last year,” he said.

"Since then we've sold semen to Canada and UK and have a company from Norway that's interested in the breed.

"We've been involved in the breeding program that's pioneering the development of the ultrablack.

"The breed is essentially an angus but they can withstand the heat where a lot of the northern Queensland herds are.”

With decades of experience in the cattle industry, Mr Bondfield said innovation was a key part of a thriving business.

"I've been doing this for 40 years and Prue and I together have been doing it for more than 30 years so it's important to keep reinventing yourself,” Mr Bondfield said.

"We have to arm ourselves with information and look at market changes, and we've got to be highly aware of overseas trends.

"Keeping a handle on the big picture means when you have to make a decision, you have all the information so that hopefully it's the best one for your business.

"We own land from New England right up to central Queensland, partly as a drought-proofing strategy, but also for us to have bulls available over a wider area.

"We've built our numbers from a small base with a strong focus on customers to where we are now with about 2300 registered cows and 4500-5000 head.”



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