Home Australia Livestock handling competition shines a light on low-stress stockmanship

Livestock handling competition shines a light on low-stress stockmanship

Livestock handling competition shines a light on low-stress stockmanship

An all-female team from the Pilbara has taken out the 2021 Livestock Handling Cup — a competition adore no other within the area showcasing animal welfare greatest practice within the northern pastoral trade.

The match, hosted by the Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association, drew extra than 40 ringers to Sandfire Roadhouse south of Broome, with one team travelling extra than 2,000 kilometres to attend from the Northern Territory.

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The route puts competitors’ stockmanship to the check with a sequence of challenges, with each team having to decide cattle in a yard, draft them into teams and information them thru an obstacle route inside of 30 minutes.

“It’s an match that’s one of a form. There are no longer really any other competitions that showcase cattle handling,” stockwoman Tara Shiels said.

“It’s a really fun match where you straggle out and regain to carry out what we carry out each day but in a little bit of a varied environment … with stuff we as stock other folks aren’t ancient to taking cattle thru, but it challenges us to carry out it in a low-stress manner as smartly. 

Low-stress stock handling on display

Now in its fifth year, the match was first conceived on Yarrie Station by pastoralist Annabelle Coppin and cattle handling educator Boyd Holden.

Ms Shiels has been learning low-stress handling over the past three seasons on the East Pilbara station, 73 kilometres north east of Marble Bar.

An obstacle course set up on red dirt in cattle yards

A team from Yarrie Station guiding cattle over an obstacle on the route at Sandfire Roadhouse, 320 kilometres south of Broome.(

Supplied: Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association


Her team, the Jinacarlie Gem stones, was crowned this year’s Livestock Handling champions after demonstrating exceptional teamwork on the obstacle route.

“Basically, we honest produce of stuck with what we all know. We carry out a lot of weaner tailing which is influenced heavily by Boyd Holden’s strategies,” Ms Shiels said.

“A broad thing we established early on with our mob was strain and release. We made definite they knew we will save the strain on but that we would release it when [the cattle] are where we would adore them to be.

“We got a beautiful mob, and my team was amazing. We all really worked relatively smartly together … having heaps of fun whereas we’re at it.”

A group of stockwomen holding a trophy surrounded by judges

The Jinacarlie Gem stones from Yarrie Station have been crowned this year’s Livestock Handling champions.(

Supplied: Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association


Competitors travel from far and huge

The match attracted 14 teams from across the northwest, with second place awarded to Yarrie Station’s other entry — The Coongan Nation.

KPCA CEO Mick Sheehy said it was pleasing to examine the match return to the northwest after going on hiatus all thru the pandemic last year, as smartly as attracting its first interstate team from Gunbalanya Station in West Arnhemland.

“It was a great effort on their part to return across such a long way [and] all individuals who participated demonstrated really appropriate ranges of stock handling,” he said.

“That beautiful symbiosis of the stockwomen. In the case of the winning team, that gentleness and empathy with the animals was really appropriate to watch.”

Three indigenous stockmen wearing green shirts and yellow sashes

The crew from Gunbalanya Station, Northern Territory.(

Supplied: Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association


From diminutive things, broad things grow

Mr Sheehy hoped the KPCA Livestock Handling Cup would continue to grow and eventually attract overseas teams from cattle trading partners in Indonesia and Vietnam.

He said it was vital for trade our bodies to advertise events adore the Livestock Handling Cup to boost the reputation of animal welfare practices within the northern cattle trade.

“We have to regain that message available within the market because there are perceptions that other folks have about what we carry out within the trade. Nonetheless the perception and reality are no longer always the same thing,” Mr Sheehy said.

“To have the opportunity to showcase these wonderful stock handling talents is one thing that we positively are taking a gawk to gain on that for definite.”

Livestock handling competition shines a light on low-stress stockmanship