Moffett Livestock, Co. Down is a leading specialist in dairy imports and exports and supplied 3,500 cattle last year.
The company source and supply in-calf and fresh milking dairy heifers to customers in over Europe and more specifically Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. They also cross into the Republic of Ireland to supply pedigree and cross-bred Fleckvieh breeding females.
Father and son duo Ray and Bradley Moffett are currently at the helm of the operation and wear specific hats when it comes to running the family enterprise.
“I am in charge of the export end of the business and my father manages the farm. We keep approximately 310 replacement heifers all the time.” Bradley told Catherina of That’s Farming.
The Moffett family have always had a strong affinity for farming, however, it is only in the last five years that they have taken a stand in the livestock dealing circles. Keeping ahead of the curve, they went into the sector with plans to target specific markets. The father and son had their eyes fixed securely on the rapid expansion occurring in the dairy industry and they decided to branch into pedigree Holstein sales when the business was only in its infancy.
Today, Moffett Livestock hold their place in the dairy circles and seal thousands of deals annually.
“One of the biggest markets that we have is a farm that is milking 2,700 cows. We also have many TB herds in England and Northern Ireland that would purchase from us too. We also have clients that buy in batches from our herd of freshly calved milking heifers.” Bradley explained.
As thousands of livestock pass through their yards annually, having adequate facilities and accommodation with a particular emphasis on animal health and welfare is paramount. The livestock dealers are currently in the process of constructing a 100-cow dairy house and a new parlour at present, with hopes that the new building will be fully operational by February.
Once that development is completed, the duo will add further to the infrastructure to transform their livestock dealing yard and will construct a calf-house and a heifer-house.
“We rent a number of farms along with our own at the moment and that is rather difficult from the perspective of time, the workload and logistics. We are trying to get the full business under one premise.” Bradley explained.
Now only half a decade in the game, Bradley admits that the business had grown rapidly in the last twelve months in particular, at a rate that has surpassed his initial expectations.
“We are moving approximately two loads a week and were very busy in 2017. We have recently completed big jobs in England recently. We also had a deal for Jerseys in Scotland.” Bradley explained.
“3,500 cattle have gone from Northern Ireland overseas, but anything up to an additional 200 cattle could have left the yard also during the year,” Bradley said.
The secret to success
Bradley says that the key to running a successful show is marketing your business using various resources, with a strong presence on leading social media platforms, a professionally designed website and advertisements in the press. While the advancements in the technological and digital marketing era dominate, to this day Bradley still places value on the traditional word of mouth sales.
“Word of mouth is a great selling tribute to us. We have a good relationship with our clients and that pushes our sales forward. It is well-known that if there is a problem, we will sort it out. We supply good stock and I select the stock for 90% of our customers.” Bradley explained.
“The livestock is one aspect of the business, but we also realise the importance of keeping the paperwork and records organised. We have a professional procedure for this end of the business too.” Bradley said.
Plans for the future
Improving the business is a predominant focus for the Moffetts at present, ranging from ongoing infrastructural developments to changes to their transport service and growing their clientele.
“We use Irish and Dutch transport companies, so now we want to be able to do all of our own transport. Relying on other people to keep your business on the road is not ideal. We are getting a new lorry and trailer to offer this service.” Bradley explained.
“The new cattle cruiser is completely different than what is used in Ireland at the moment. It gives more head height, more space and air flow. The cattle travel a lot better.” Bradley said.
“In terms of supplying cattle, we are looking at breaking more into the Turkish market with the Fleckvieh. We are also giving thought to beef cattle sales also.” Bradley concluded.
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