A Queensland agtech company is cleverly addressing the age-old problem of feed supplementation in the livestock industry.

Story Amanda Burdon Photo DIT AgTech

Mark Peart jokes that there’s barely a gidgee in northern Australia that he wouldn’t have eaten a corned beef sandwich under. From WA to the Channel Country, he roamed widely during his 20 years as a contract helicopter musterer. “I got to know the country and the people pretty well,” says the former ringer. So well, in fact, that the “serial entrepreneur” has made it his mission to meet a need that has long plagued the livestock industry – feed supplementation. 

Back in 2009, just as Mark was wrapping up an MBA at Deakin University, agtech “lit a fire” in his belly. “It was like a calling, to build a tech business in the bush,” he says. “But I wanted to solve a real problem and do something purposeful for broader humanity and the environment.”

Vast swathes of northern Australia lack minerals critical to animal health and productivity, like urea and phosphate. And Mark felt there had to be a more efficient and cost-effective way of distributing them than “the seriously Neanderthal practice of using lick blocks and bag licks”.

Working out how to suspend the minerals and other trace elements in water, and then the algorithms to calculate accurate doses – cattle drink a percentage of their body weight daily – clinched it for DIT AgTech. Now the Toowoomba-based company customises its formulas to address regional deficiencies and distributes them through remotely controlled, solar-powered dosers on water sources. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #151

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2023