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Good stockmanship showcased at inaugural Pilbara event

A total of 30 competitors representing four stations met on Yarrie Station in the Pilbara last month to compete for the title of Champion Stock Handling Team in the inaugural Pilbara Livestock handling cup.

The winning title went to Mardie Station from Karratha, with De Grey Station receiving runners up followed by hosts Yarrie Station.

Organised by the De Grey LCDC over the weekend of 29-30 July, the event was the first of its kind in Australia if not the world, and attracted over 30 spectators.

The concept for the cup came from Annabelle Coppin owner and manager of Yarrie Station and Boyd Holden of Livestock Behaviour Systems decided they wanted to showcase the skills of the industry following the Live Export suspension.

Together they designed an event that would encourage learning, connection, positivity and energy in the industry.

Three key criteria that were judged during the competition were animal welfare, team work and stockmanship.

Teams started with 20 head of cattle and worked them through a number of yard processes before entering an obstacle course for the third and final event. The first challenge required settling the cattle and droving freshly weaned livestock around a yard. The second involved cattle selection and drafting the cattle. The third was taking the cattle through a carefully designed obstacle course, with the fourth event comprising an interview about broad industry issues to encourage more effective communication within the industry.

The event replicates real livestock handling situations and skills required in every day station life so it’s a great way to recognise and share the skills required to do the job properly, Mr Holden said, who took on the role of judge for the competition.

Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Pilbara) Chris Curnow said Rangelands NRM was convinced of the importance of the event as it aligned with what the De Grey LCDC and a number of other Pilbara pastoralists were trying to do.

Changing stereotypes and images in the minds of a highly urbanised Australian society is an important objective that the organisers of this inaugural event are striving for, Mr Curnow said.

Many rangeland pastoralists are already leading the way undertaking property planning that synthesises an understanding of the landscape, its ecology, the way rainfall and surface water is affected by the interactions between soil surface condition and vegetation levels together with the needs of their grazing enterprise and pasture growth cycles with their total grazing management and fire.

Doing all this alongside their desire to improve their interactions with cattle to maintain high standards in animal welfare is simply part of the modern cattle enterprise in the Modern Outback, he said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Kimberley-Pilbara Cattleman’s Association, Catherine Marriott said the way the competitors handled their cattle was a credit to them and really showed the skills involved in keeping livestock calm and together.

“Things happen randomly when working stock, as they did in the competition and the most important thing was to stay calm and respectful of your stock and always remember the welfare and safety of your cattle, and the competitors gave an exemplary demonstration of this,” she said.

Ms Coppin said the event showcased that good stockmanship takes work, that it is a skill, a profession and a lifelong journey of learning, rather than general station work that you did just for a year or so.

“No two pens of cattle are the same, which ensures fundamental skills are not only required, but flexibility and knowledge are needed within those fundamentals to achieve effective cattle handling,” she said.

Bill Currans, Executive Officer of the De Grey LCDC thanked the funders and sponsors of the event: Rangelands NRM, National Landcare Programme, Department of Agriculture and Food WA Northern Beef Futures, MLA Donor Company, Royalties for Regions, Territory Rural and Primaries, Goad Livestock Landmark, Yarrie Station, Pardoo Beef Corporation and the Iron Clad Hotel.

“We are looking forward to running the event again next year, growing it to a competition that we hope other regions will take on,” Mr Currans said.

Rangelands NRM, with funding from the National Landcare Programme, became a key supporter of the event in late 2014, assuring the necessary base funding to start the event’s planning and implementation.

Mr Curnow said Rangelands NRM also hoped that the Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup might become an annual event.

“It would be great for stations from all around the WA rangelands to converge and showcase the way their industry is caring for the special rangeland landscapes, the livestock we depend upon and the people who handle them,” he said.

Images:

(Top Left) The inaugural Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup trophy (Credit: Chris Curnow / RNRM)
(Right) The winners and place getters of the inaugural Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup, 30th July on at the Jinacarlie Yards, Yarrie Station. (Credit: Chris Curnow / RNRM)

Good stockmanship showcased at inaugural Pilbara event

A total of 30 competitors representing four stations met on Yarrie Station in the Pilbara last month to compete for the title of Champion Stock Handling Team in the inaugural Pilbara Livestock handling cup.

The winning title went to Mardie Station from Karratha, with De Grey Station receiving runners up followed by hosts Yarrie Station.

Organised by the De Grey LCDC over the weekend of 29-30 July, the event was the first of its kind in Australia if not the world, and attracted over 30 spectators.

The concept for the cup came from Annabelle Coppin owner and manager of Yarrie Station and Boyd Holden of Livestock Behaviour Systems decided they wanted to showcase the skills of the industry following the Live Export suspension.

Together they designed an event that would encourage learning, connection, positivity and energy in the industry.

Three key criteria that were judged during the competition were animal welfare, team work and stockmanship.

Teams started with 20 head of cattle and worked them through a number of yard processes before entering an obstacle course for the third and final event. The first challenge required settling the cattle and droving freshly weaned livestock around a yard. The second involved cattle selection and drafting the cattle. The third was taking the cattle through a carefully designed obstacle course, with the fourth event comprising an interview about broad industry issues to encourage more effective communication within the industry.

The event replicates real livestock handling situations and skills required in every day station life so it’s a great way to recognise and share the skills required to do the job properly, Mr Holden said, who took on the role of judge for the competition.

Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Pilbara) Chris Curnow said Rangelands NRM was convinced of the importance of the event as it aligned with what the De Grey LCDC and a number of other Pilbara pastoralists were trying to do.

Changing stereotypes and images in the minds of a highly urbanised Australian society is an important objective that the organisers of this inaugural event are striving for, Mr Curnow said.

Many rangeland pastoralists are already leading the way undertaking property planning that synthesises an understanding of the landscape, its ecology, the way rainfall and surface water is affected by the interactions between soil surface condition and vegetation levels together with the needs of their grazing enterprise and pasture growth cycles with their total grazing management and fire.

Doing all this alongside their desire to improve their interactions with cattle to maintain high standards in animal welfare is simply part of the modern cattle enterprise in the Modern Outback, he said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Kimberley-Pilbara Cattleman’s Association, Catherine Marriott said the way the competitors handled their cattle was a credit to them and really showed the skills involved in keeping livestock calm and together.

“Things happen randomly when working stock, as they did in the competition and the most important thing was to stay calm and respectful of your stock and always remember the welfare and safety of your cattle, and the competitors gave an exemplary demonstration of this,” she said.

Ms Coppin said the event showcased that good stockmanship takes work, that it is a skill, a profession and a lifelong journey of learning, rather than general station work that you did just for a year or so.

“No two pens of cattle are the same, which ensures fundamental skills are not only required, but flexibility and knowledge are needed within those fundamentals to achieve effective cattle handling,” she said.

Bill Currans, Executive Officer of the De Grey LCDC thanked the funders and sponsors of the event: Rangelands NRM, National Landcare Programme, Department of Agriculture and Food WA Northern Beef Futures, MLA Donor Company, Royalties for Regions, Territory Rural and Primaries, Goad Livestock Landmark, Yarrie Station, Pardoo Beef Corporation and the Iron Clad Hotel.

“We are looking forward to running the event again next year, growing it to a competition that we hope other regions will take on,” Mr Currans said.

Rangelands NRM, with funding from the National Landcare Programme, became a key supporter of the event in late 2014, assuring the necessary base funding to start the event’s planning and implementation.

Mr Curnow said Rangelands NRM also hoped that the Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup might become an annual event.

“It would be great for stations from all around the WA rangelands to converge and showcase the way their industry is caring for the special rangeland landscapes, the livestock we depend upon and the people who handle them,” he said.

Images:

(Top Left) The inaugural Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup trophy (Credit: Chris Curnow / RNRM)
(Right) The winners and place getters of the inaugural Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup, 30th July on at the Jinacarlie Yards, Yarrie Station. (Credit: Chris Curnow / RNRM)