The Doyle family
John and Maree Doyle together with their family run a mixed farming operation across two farms in the Riverina region of New South Wales, and one just across the Murray river in Victoria.
Together the Doyles run a self-replacing herd of poll Hereford cattle with about 120 breeding cows. They also grow winter crops, carrots and potatoes across the three properties combined 1200ha.
In June 2019 the Doyles made history as the first farmers to have their cattle processed by Provenir’s commercially licensed mobile, on-farm abattoir, on their Claredale property.
“Most farmers have killed their own livestock at some stage and had that experience of eating beef that hasn’t been transported, generally it is a lot more tender.”
“The other side of it is the welfare of the livestock – not having to transport to markets and processing works – if it can be done in their familiar surroundings it is better for the animals and the quality of the meat.”
“The cattle are all yarded with their mates, they are very calm. Cattle like to be among the ones they grew up with.” – John Doyle
Farm fast facts
|Farm Size||400 hectares|
|How many cattle?||120 breeding cows|
|Who works on the farm?||John and his wife Maree together with their grown-up children, their partners and two full time farm managers.|
|Favourite beef meal?||Beef oyster blade topped with an egg for breakfast.|
|Why Provenir?||Provenir’s digital traceability will provide us with valuable feedback on meat quality and enable us to continue to improve upon the food we’re producing for consumers.|
Why we farm
A love of the land, cattle and innovation.
While Maree grew up on the land John wasn’t raised in a farming family, but he knew from a young age that he wanted to be a farmer and work on the land.
This idea may have formed during his time as a child spent on a family friends farm, but it was confirmed at Dookie Agricultural College where he studied for his Diploma in Agricultural Science. During that time John met people involved in agriculture from all over Australia and to this day he still keeps in touch, sharing ideas, information and helping each other out along the way.
Each of the children were involved in the farm as they grew up and while they have gone on to forge their own careers they are still very much part of the Doyle farming team. John and Maree’s son Rory is working as a chemical engineer making animal vaccines, while Darcy in the final stages of his veterinary science. Daughter Bridget is a landscape designer and Hannah has a degree in business and runs her own accounting business.
It’s working together as a family team, connection with fellow farmers and their desire to innovate that keeps the Doyle’s passion for farming alive.
While John’s a first generation farmer, for Maree the connection to the land runs deep.
Growing up in Western Australia, Maree’s parents were among the pioneers of the Esperance farming district. Her father managed the research station as it unlocked the problems of deficient trace elements. This discovery was key to making the soils fertile and secure the farming future of the region.
John was working in W.A. and Maree was home from university when they met. An offer to work on a potato farm in the southern Riverina bought them to the Berrigan area and they went share-farming until they eventually had enough for a deposit to start their own farm.
When John and Maree settled at Claredale it was operating as a dairy farm, but they quickly recognised the potential for the land, with ready access to water, a temperate climate and sandy loam soils it was perfect for growing root vegetables and rotating the paddocks with fodder crops and cattle.
Daughter Hannah and Tom now farm just down the road and have little Meg and Henry the third generation on the land.
"Everyone knows what a good eating experience you get
when you process your own cattle on the farm
The Provenir process will be very similar to that
and will be of benefit to consumers that buy that meat."
– John Doyle
A Hereford man through and through.
John runs a self-replacing herd of 120 Hereford, Glentrevor blood autumn calving cows and usually turns off grass-fed steers at 500kg liveweight into prime markets at Wodonga, Finley and feedlots.
Bulls are selected on the quality produced in their offspring, low birthweight and solid growth rate, good milk supply for the heifers and eye muscle quality and size.
John has been using Glentrevor Hereford genetics for over 20 years and considers himself lucky to have worked closely with Howard Yelland the owner who lives just up the road.
In a continued effort to produce the best food possible, for many years John has donated a steer to the local Finley High School students to enter the Melbourne Royal hoof and hook competition. This has enabled John to obtain critical feedback on his cattle and make improvements to his breeding and finishing programs.
Farming now runs in the family.
John currently breeds and raises his cattle on the farm in Berrigan, but with his daughter Bridget and son-in-law Paddy settling on their own farm which is better suited to breeding cattle change is afoot.
The Doyles have plans to establish the Hereford breeding programme on Bridget and Paddy’s property and then finish the cattle on the lush pasture at Claredale.
The cattle are finished on grazing cereals and irrigated pastures of lucerne, phalaris, clover and ryegrass.
Beef and potatoes, the perfect match.
Claredale is a mixed farming operation with a focus on growing potatoes, fodder crops and cattle.
The cattle graze on improved pastures of rye grass and clover and are moved in with the seasons to graze on remaining crops following harvest.
Over the years the Doyles have seen the soils improve which John attributes to the rotational grazing of the cattle between crops.