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Young Agribusiness Leader of the Year

18 December 2020

ROB BAYLEY, Blackwood Piggery

Blackwood Piggery was established in the 1980’s, with Rob Bayley taking over management of the piggery business seven years ago.

A highly respected leader at a local, state and national level, Rob is the 2020 Young Agribusiness Leader of the Year, a prestigious category supported by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

At a local level, Rob has encouraged piggeries to collate, analyse and share production and financial data to benchmark their operation. This initiative forms the objective evidence on which producers can build continuous improvement in their production systems. 

At a state level, Rob is a member of the Victorian Farmers Federation Pig Group.

Through his Victorian networks, he provides input on emerging issues for the sector and is an authoritative and trusted channel of communication in mobilising responses on these key issues.

At a national level Rob is a proactive member of the Australian Pork Limited Young Leaders Group developing industry responses to national issues such as animal welfare, biosecurity and interstate movement of stock during Covid19 restrictions.

This weekly dispatch becomes a wholesale supply of high quality fresh pork to butchers and independent supermarkets under the Australian Pork brand, as well as value added bacon and sausages.

Rob has been instrumental in establishing a number of environmental and sustainability focussed initiatives in his Blackwood Piggery operation.

Effluent from the 550 sow piggery is pumped to a 6ML dam, and the dam is covered to capture methane and a generator then converts it to electricity.

The plant generates 420MW per year, which powers the site and excess energy is sold back to the grid.

With a number of these on-site initiatives, the Pork industry has invested into the research and the University of Queensland has assisted in the project planning.

Under Rob’s leadership, the Blackwood Piggery has become a key component and spokesman of this national project.

Other key technologies pioneered at Blackwood under Rob’s leadership include enhanced biosecurity, automated feeding systems, automatic climate control in the farrowing shed and heating systems in the nursery utilising ardent heat from the biogas generator.   

Rob has recently completed the Australian Pork Limited Young Leaders Course.

The course included development of leadership skills, media training and an overseas visit to study piggeries in Denmark, with Rob taking the opportunity whilst in the northern hemisphere to add five days of his own program to visit piggeries in Germany.

These experiences and access to large scale international operations have helped Rob develop the size and diversity of his global industry networks.

In turn, the networks provide Rob with insights to emerging issues and the opportunity to continue to mobilise projects that achieve real world outcomes for stakeholders across the sector.