The De Grey LCDC Pilbara Stockmanship Challenge
The inaugural Pilbara Livestock handling cup has been held by the De Grey LCDC at Yarrie Station in the Pilbara over the weekend. 4 Stations with 30 competitors and 30 spectators converged in the Pilbara to compete for the title of Champion Stockhandling Team. Mardie Station from Karratha came up trumps winning the overall title.
This is a new initiative, different from any other stock handling event, the three key criteria were animal welfare, team work and stockmanship. An important part of this event is it replicated real life cattle management on the station. 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 concept for the cup was established after the Live Export suspension. Annabelle Coppin of Yarrie Station and Boyd Holden of Livestock Behaviour Systems decided they wanted to showcase the skills we have in industry. Together they decided we needed an event that would encourage learning, connection, positivity and energy in our industry, the Stockmanship Challenge was born.
The event consisted of four sections, the first was 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. The third event, brought much laughter as cattle and station teams worked through the course with expertise and good humour. The fourth event was an interview about broad industry issues to encourage more effective communication within our 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 thing was to stay calm and respectful of your stock and 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.
Mr Holden remarked “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.”
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
“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” Miss Coppin said.
Bill Currans, EO of the De Grey LCDC would like to thank 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.
Mr Currans said “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”