Champion of hard work
Manager focuses on clear goals
WITHIN two years Dave Young ticked off a string of milestones – he became station manager, obtained his helicopter licence, married his wife and became a father.
Although it sounds like success came quickly, he’ll tell you it has taken his whole life.
In fact, his advice to anyone keen on career in the beef industry is to not “expect it to happen overnight”.
Mr Young started off working alongside his family on Chatsworth Station, near Cloncurry in northwest Queensland.
He joined the Consolidated Pastoral Company (CPC) in 2008 on Manbulloo Station, had a stint away working in the Gulf country, then slowly climbed the ranks from ringer to leading hand, to head stockman and then to overseer.
In 2017 he became the manager on Newry Station.
This week, Dave caught up with the Rural Weekly to talk about what life is like on Newry, a cattle property 20km east of the West Australian border in the Northern Territory and 70km outside of Kununurra.
In a good year, Newry can run more than 20,500 head across its 246,700ha. It has a mix of black soil and stoney-ridge country, running mostly brahmans.
“We are basically just breeding factory,” Mr Young said.
“Our job is to produce as many kilos on the ground, and as many calves on the ground as we can.”
My Young runs the property alongside his wife Eloise and eight-month-old daughter Lacey.
There are seven people working in the stock camp, a bore runner and an administration assistant, who doubles as the station gardener and animal carer.
Like the admin assistant’s workload, Mr Young described his role as being varied and a constant “juggle”.
“Each year there is a lot to try and achieve and a lot to organise. It’s a job that keeps you on your toes and keeps your mind moving,” he said.
Newry sends its steers to Argyle Downs to grow out, which is another CPC station bordering the property’s southern side.
It hasn’t been the best of seasons this year, but Mr Young said hopefully some early wet-season storms would offer some relief.
“We are just a little bit dry at the moment and are feeling the pinch in the back end of the season,” he said.
“We are in the build-up season at the moment so it’s fairly ordinary outside, it’s hot and humid but that should break shortly and we will start to get some storms rolling through.”
Before chatting to the Rural Weekly, Mr Young spent most of the previous evening fighting fires.
In a casual tone he shrugged off the blazes as nothing more than “a couple of early lightning strikes raising a bit of havoc”.
“It’s seasonal here. Some years we will have a good run, and only have one or two fires,” he said.
“This is more just this back end of the season. There is a lot of dry grass and the winds are chopping and changing, so it’s ideal conditions for bushfires.”
Mr Young described the team on Newry as a “great bunch of people”.
He said with more women entering the industry it wasn’t too much trouble getting the staff he needed for the season.
“I have three or four young ladies working here,” he said.
“Everyone in the camp has come from a pastoral background, so they know the outline of what we are doing.
“There are a lot of good young people coming into the industry, and I am starting to find people are hanging around longer than they did in previous years.”
While Mr Young had noticed more people keen on longer-term stints within the beef industry, he described the secret to a “happy camp” as being a “million dollar question”.
“That’s the big challenge... I suppose you have to try and help them as much as they are helping you,” he said.
“They have to be getting something out of it.
“You have to find a way to keep them interested and hungry.
“It’s not always easy, with so many staff, but if you can get them to outline their goals at the start of the season, we can tick them off as the year goes on. This gives them some responsibility, and it’s something we can achieve at the end of the year.”
Mr Young sets goals for himself, and one of those was gaining his helicopter licence.
“I have always been fairly passionate with aviation. I have had my plane licence for a few years and always wanted to fly helicopters,” he said.
“Luckily enough, CPC said they would base a helicopter here if I wanted to do it.”
Being able to see Newry from the sky was a vital tool for Mr Young’s management.
While there are more office-based tasks to his role, it was important for him to still be hands on with mustering and doing some of the “hard yards”.
“For me I think I have to be there as I want to see the condition of the cattle. I can see that when they are walking along,” he said.
“I try not to interfere with my head stockman and try to leave camp alone as much as I can.
“But I want to be able to check the livestock, and it helps me with forward planning and forecasting – to help map out future cattle movements down the track. I can see all of that from the air.”
For anyone keen to tackle a station job next year, Mr Young’s advice was simple: “have a go”.
“Don’t be scared of getting off your dung hill and trying different things,” he said.
“Hopefully, you can try and look at it as a career. Don’t try and get to the top in the first couple of years.
“It’s like anything, it’s still a job where you have to work hard to get anywhere.
“It won’t happen overnight but good things come. Just try and get as much experience as you can in your early years.”
Now that he is a family man, with the arrival Lacey on January 23, Mr Young said the biggest challenge this year was balancing time for his family with work and his station family.
obtained his Young manager David Newry Station this year. helicopter licence BIG PROPERTY: Northern Territory property Newry Station has a carrying capacity of more than 20,000 head.It’s the build-up season on Newry Station, so it’s hot and humid.
FAMILY TIME: Lacey, Eloise and Dave Young of Newry Station in the Northern Territory. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED