The inaugural Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup was held by the De Grey LCDC (Land Conservation District Committee) at Yarrie Station in the Pilbara on the weekend.
Four stations with 30 competitors and 30 spectators competed for the title of Champion Stockhandling Team, with Mardie Station from Karratha winning the overall title.
This is a new initiative, and is different from any other stock handling event.
The three key criteria were animal welfare, team work and stockmanship.
Importantly the event replicates real life cattle management on the station.
Teams start with 20 head of cattle and work them through a number of yard processes before entering an obstacle course for the third and final event.
The idea to host the Pilbara Livestock Handling Cup was conceived during the 2011 Indonesian live export suspension.
Annabelle Coppin of Yarrie Station and Boyd Holden of Livestock Behaviour Systems decided an event was needed that would showcase the livestock handling skills employed in the industry, and encourage learning, connection, positivity and energy in the industry.
The event comprised four sections:
- Settling the cattle and droving freshly weaned livestock around a yard,
- cattle selection and drafting the cattle,
- taking the cattle through a carefully designed obstacle course. (This phase brought much laughter as cattle and station teams worked through the course with expertise and good humour), and
- an interview about broad industry issues to encourage more effective communication within the industry.
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 skill was to stay calm and respectful of your stock and to always remember the welfare and safety of your cattle. The competitors gave an exemplary demonstration of this.
Livestock handling and animal welfare are paramount to growing a sense of pride in our industry, constantly improving our handling techniques is important.
Boyd Holden, a renowned livestock handling expert was the judge and event designer, who delivers training in the region and across Australia.
“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,” he said.
One of the things about this event is it gives recognition to those with expert skills and brings together like-minded people to learn from each other.
It enabled people to share what is required to do the job properly and the impact quiet stockmanship can make on the animals and the people.
“For a long time, station work has been seen as something you do for a year, this event really showcased that good stockmanship takes work, it is a skill, a profession and a lifelong journey of learning,” Ms Coppin said.
“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.”
“I was impressed with the way the competitors handled their cattle, also the way everyone stayed there, watching and learning different ways of doing things. There was a really strong connection and desire to learn and support each other, the atmosphere was electric.” Mr Holden said.
“As an industry, we are proud of the way we handle our livestock. We wanted to create an event that celebrated the skills we have and allowed us to share knowledge with other stations” Ms Coppin said.
Bill Currans, EO of the De Grey LCDC sent out a big thank you to the funders and sponsors, 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.
“This event was the first of it’s kind in Australia and 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.
- Catherine Marriott is the CEO of the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association
Congratulations Pilbara Team!
Innovative pastoralism will prove crucial to revitalise our national economy from the bottom-up.
Individuals within the industry have long recognised both the need for improved environmental custodianship as well as the capacity of the pastoral industry to deliver the services required.
How to get this information to city-based voters and power-brokers?
Events like this will go far to fill this knowledge-gap. May this sort of event be replicated soon and regularly across northern Australia.
Even as a non-agricultural person by experience (except by inclination), I was thrilled to read this. Well done – would love to have one of these in NSW so we could go and observe.
Well done to everyone. It is events like these, which showcase the great people, young and old, new and exisiting, that we have in the beef industry. It makes me proud to be apart of the beef industry and wider agricultural community. Thankyou to the sponsors who can make ideas a reality.
How wonderful. Long overdue. Congratulations. Please put it out on Beef Central next year so we all hear when it is on
This is a great innovative idea that celebrates the great stock handing skills we have across the beef industry in this country. We should be proud and proactive in showcasing these skills to the wider world audience including the activist organizations who question our commitment to the welfare of the animals in our care. Great job all involved in this venture