For the first time, an Aboriginal station in the Kimberley recently hosted a workshop on low stress stock handling to improve stock management and productivity.
Lamboo station, 45 kilometres south west of Halls Creek in the East Kimberley, run by the Ngunjiwirri Aboriginal Corporation, plans to adopt the stock handling technique across its herd of 2300 head of Shorthorn/Brahman cross cattle.
It is also the first time that Queensland trainer Jim Lindsay has undertaken a workshop on an Aboriginal station in Western Australia.
A total of 21 participants from Noonkanbah, Millijiddee, Glen Hill, Doon Doon, Bow River and Lamboo stations attended the workshop.
Lamboo station manager Robin Yeeda was excited to learn more about low stress stock handling and how it would benefit both the cattle and his stockmen.
Mr Yeeda said the adoption of the technique was the culmination of eight years of structural improvement.
“We have made a huge investment in the infrastructure on the property, so that it is set up for low stress stock handling,” he said.
“On the northern side of Great Northern Highway, where our herd is run, there are now nine paddocks, connected by four laneways.
“We have also built new stockyards, with a grant from the Indigenous Landholders Corporation, as well as a series of trap gates to facilitate mustering and moving cattle into the laneways to access the new cattle yards.
“There are also nine bores, operated by a combination of windmills and solar driven pumps, and three dams.”
Mr Yeeda invited managers and stock handlers from other Aboriginal stations to attend the workshop, so that they too can benefit from the knowledge shared.
“We are now looking forward to working together and sharing the information to improve our stock handling knowledge and skills,” he said.
“If we are going to improve our business skills we need to improve our stock handling skills.”
Low stress stock handling is based on better understanding animal instincts to move stock more calmly without the need for force and, in doing so, reduce the risk of meat quality losses from bruising and dark cutting meat induced by stress.
The technique has been adopted on many agricultural and pastoral properties in Western Australia and other states.
Coordination of the workshop was supported by the Department of Agriculture and Food’s Indigenous Landholder Service, which has been working closely with the Ngunjiwirri Aboriginal Corporation for 12 years in its pursuit of financial viability.
First published in Leading Agriculture