Top working dogs on show in Gympie
TRADITIONALLY cattle and animal handling on large and small properties involved lots of yelling, use of poly pipe and severely stressed-out people and animals.
Burnett Mary Regional Group Landcare facilitator Kay Enkelman said there were better ways to do all that.
“The biggest current issues with stock handling are work safety for people and animal care,” she said.
“With everyone stressed to the max, accidents are going to happen.”
She said the less stress animals were placed under meant better weight gain performance, easier and quicker handling at all times.
“All of that means better returns from better meat quality,” Ms Enkleman said.
“Working with, not against, your stock also applies to environment issues, which can also improve property economic performance.”
Ms Enkelman was attending a BMRG-sponsored Neil McDonald three-day education event on Jim and Sarah Viner’s Glastonbury beef property.
Mr McDonald gave a series of talks and practical in-the-yard demonstrations of how his cattle-handling system worked.
Fifteen beef producers attended from locally to Gin Gin, with some being repeat participants in the event because of the benefits they had achieved.
With most attendees camping out on the Viner property, the opportunity was available for extensive networking and finding out how other progressive graziers managed their stock and businesses.
Benefits were listed as economic due to less time to carry out jobs, better weight gains that gave increased prices and better personal and staff relationships.
Mr McDonald is a cattle handling adviser for large and small enterprises in all parts of the country and presents an entertaining workshop dealing with education, cattle and people with a largely commonsense approach.
He said understanding your cattle was the first thing to get right.
“Once that happens the how can vary by the person,” he said.
“For most people dogs are important provided they are properly trained.”
Mr McDonald said being trained did not mean running around crazily and barking at everything.
“Remember, the dogs are working dogs – they can go where you can’t to get cattle out,” he said.
“Trust your dog.”
PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATIONS: The lecture room with Neil McDonald and Kay Enkelman and a team of working dogs.