Other Names

  • Radford’s1
  • R Radford and Sons abattoir3

Current Operation

  • Currently operating at 16.11.2013


  • Warragul is approximately 120km south east of Melbourne.

Australia. Warragul

Warragul 001Hema Maps – Australia Handy map – 9th edition


  • Radford’s1
    • Family-owned meat processing business3
    • Managing director – Robert Radford1


  •  At 2011 processing 120,000 sheep and lambs and 80,000 cattle per year2
  • Operate 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year3
    • 1,400 cattle and 2,500 lambs a week3
    • Currently processing sheep and cattle but looking to process goats in the future5
    • Currently domestic processing 18-21kg carcases boutique markets5
    • Process lamb for different domestic cultural and religious festivals5
      • lambs need to be very lean 116-18kg5
      • Italian community like 18-20kg5
      • Vietnamese and Chinese want very lean 20-22kg, no fat5
      • Warragul own a retail shop in Kyneton, this has added to tourist trade5
    • Export markets
      • Middle east require a very lean carcase under 18kg5
        • cook meat slowly and too much fat congeals at top of pots5
      • Lamb and mutton exported both whole and 6-way cuts, fresh and frozen air freight5
    • 15% production is certified organic5
      • 40-50% growth in organic meat processing in lst 3-5 years5
  • Animals sourced all over Victoria, In SA Mt Gambier and Naracoorte, In NSW as far as Gunnedah, at times also Tasmania.3

Warragul stock sourceSource Hema maps – Australia Handy map 9th edition

Figure 1 – showing area from which Warragul abattoir source animals across South east Australia

  • Animal Welfare practices3
    • animals are stunned with electric stunner, cattle knocked unconcious prior to slaughter3
    • Stunning is audited and people are specifically trained for the stunning role3
    • Primesafe -Victorian meat authority conduct regular audits at least 3-4 times a year3
    • Audits are unannounced inspections3
      • Focus on animal welfare is critical to the success of an abattoirs relationship to its suppliers and customers” Robert Radford, Manager5
      • There are sound business reasons to conduct rules of treatment and slaughter of animals.3
        • business can be closed instantly for breaches3
        • Plant invested heavily to allow animals to rest prior to slaughter3
        • Stock yards are covered in sawdust to soften footing. – then is reused as fertlizer3
        • stressed animals create poor quality meat cutting so better welfare is a better animal carcase produced3
          • stockyards are undercover and allow 750 cattle to be held.3
          • Animals allowed up to 48 hours rest before slaughter5
    • Prediction of meat quality use3
      • PH level as indication3
      • hanging method of carcase is tender stretching and not hung from achilles3
    • Resources used3
      • water was a major problem in the drought – using 100,000 litres per day,3
        • not connected to mains water and had no access to ground water3
        • developed a recycling of own effluent waste3
        • developed with help of governmentm cost $1.1M3
    • Products
      • skins – are all sold as tenders to various markets and graded to their quality3
        • skins often to China – car seat covers, shoe lining, clothing5
      • Offal and other byproducts are value added, producing tallow and meat meal5
    • Business
      • need to constantly look at Research and development to consider productivity, running costs and new technology to increase through-put3
      • Looking to enter Halal export markets5
      • Domestic Halal is common, enables offal byproducts to be sold for human consumption5
      • Only some victoria abattoirs allowed to do Kosher processing5
    • Slaughter process
      • Last 20 years focus is meat processing and wholesalers5
      • After each kill – meat buyers mark up (rate) bodies at 5am each morning, looking at quality and matching to orders4
        • Average 120 bodies – 60 will get top money, 30 OK, 15 barely cover costs and 15 probably lose money due to bruising or cutting dark4
        • You’ll get your money on 50% of the beef bodies, the next 20-30% you’ll make a bit on, and the rest you’ll go backwards by about $40 to $50 a body” Danny Hood – Meat Wholesaler4
        • Being a perishable item, aim is to have the kill sold and placed within 7 days4
        • Price spread across beef bodies of 100c/kg carcass weight4
        • Domestic to wholesaler mark up is approximately 50-70c/kg4
        • 200kg carcase from abattoir has markup about $140 by wholesaler to cover transport, processing fees and delivery charges.4
    • Employees
      • Warragul employees average 10 years of continuous service6
      • In 60 years of trading not lost a single day to industrial disputes6
      • All employees require Certificate 2 status in food processing6



  • Father began business as one-man slaughterhouse
    • on-man slaughterhouses were in most towns, Warragul had 6.



  • Radfords – Warragul established6


  • Involved in delegation of 200 Victorian food manufacturers to develop worlds first  global halal brand, invited by the Brunei government.1
  • Note from Managing director R Radford and Son – 28/02/2014 – Radfords were a participant in the delegation to Brunei, any publications stating or implying that R Radford and Son process meat for halal markets are incorrect. R Radford and Son do not and have never processed meat for halal markets and have not sought accreditation.1


  • Won awards2
    1. NAB agribusiness leader of the year2
      • In past decade Warragul have doubled processing to 80,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and lambs a year.2
    2. Environment and Energy management2
      • Reduced consumption of electricity by 4.17%2
      • Reduced gas consumption by 30.5%2
      • Reduced fuel use by 19.2%2
      • Reduced water use by 44.5%2


  • Up to 2012 had invested $8.3M in new plant. equipment and supporting infrastructure


  1. ‘Victorians work on first global halal brand’ The Age 24.09.2007
  2. ‘Abattoir leads way’ Pakenham Gazette star community 07.12.2011
  3. ‘A cut above’ ABC Landline 21.10.13.
  4. ‘Story behind beef retail prices’ Weekly Times 10.10.2013
  5. ‘Abattoirs cater to emerging markets’ Stock Journal 26.09.2013
  6. http://www.radfordmeats.com
  7. Inquiry into the impact of food safety regulation on farms and other business 18.10.12.
  8. Personnal Communication. R Radford. 28.02.2014

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