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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
page 34 C aTTL e COUNCIL OF a USTR a LI a Y ea RBOOK 2008 “We are also half-way through an eight-year water development program, and this year will drill another nine bores which helps to manage grazing pressures.” The final stop on the rural awareness tour was Undoolya Station at alice Springs, where the diversity of the NT’s land types and management systems was once again highlighted. The 144,000ac Undoolya Station was taken up in 1872, and has been owned by the Hayes family since 1907. Brothers andy, Richard and Ben Hayes continue to manage Undoolya, the neighbouring The gardens station, and Rocky Hill grape Farm on Undoolya. Their children are the sixth generation of the family to live at Undoolya. The ravages of drought at Undoolya helped bring home to the RaT participants the hardship faced by NT beef producers. although the station should receive 280mm of rain a year, poor rainfall has forced the Hayes to significantly destock their Hereford herd. “In average seasonal conditions Undoolya is capable of running 5000 head - with better than average rainfall 6000 head could be accommodated with ease,” Ben Hayes explained. “But numbers are below 3000 head at the moment. It has not been since the 1960s that such poor rainfall has been experienced.” To manage risk, cattle have been moved from Undoolya to the The gardens, which has had a better season, and the Hayes are also investigating agistment options in Queensland. after a week’s exposure to the northern beef industry, the RaT participants were left with this final image of the NT: three cattlemen and their families pushing on in the face of a harsh environment, determined to preserve their own legacy on the land. *Rebecca Jennings was invited by Cattle Council of australia to attend the Rural awareness Tour. RaT paRTICIpaNTS SHaRe THeIR expeRIeNCeS Bill Bray - president, Cattle CounCil of australia “I think the tour was very successful - there was really good engagement between the participants and producers and other public servants in the NT. Brian Radunz’s comments on the shortage of vets created plenty of discussion, as the NT’s frontline role in managing biosecurity makes this an issue for producers across australia. The diversity of production in the NT, and the way producers are managing the seasons with early decision making were highlights for me.” Jed Matz - poliCy direCtor, Cattle CounCil of australia “The professionalism of producers in the NT and the way they manage natural resources was a highlight of the tour. It was also an important opportunity for all the participants to develop key networks - both within the beef industry and within other areas of government - and they were able to take different messages away from the tour to suit their individual roles.” elissa slattery - Market analyst, Mla “The marketing arrangements in the NT beef industry were of particular interest to me on this tour. I got to see a different side of the cattle industry and a highlight was getting out and meeting people face-to-face. I feel I can now better relate to the industry, and better tailor the program activities I am responsible for.” ian langstaff - Manager disease surveillanCe, aniMal HealtH australia, “It was really interesting to see how productive some of the land in the NT is, and how other parts are challenged by the drought. It was also interesting to hear at the NTCa conference how open producers are in responding to climate change. a highlight was meeting the people we develop programs for - it was interesting to see their perspective of the work we do, and what priority it takes in their management.” reg Butler - prinCipal veterinary offiCer - produCt integrity, aniMal & plant HealtH, offiCe of CHief veterinary offiCer, “although I have worked with beef producers in Queensland and NSW, I didn’t understand the NT beef industry at all before this trip. I did not realise how reliant the industry in on live trade, and this is definitely one of biggest issues I will take home. I was also interested in the social issues - until you get out and meet people it is hard to understand the isolation.” andrew liesCHke - daff national residue survey, assistant Manager aniMal prograMs “This trip gave me first-hand knowledge of the different management systems in the NT - from the flood plains at Melaleuca down through to Katherine where the productivity of the land blew me away, and then to alexandria, where once again the productivity of the land and the exceptional cattle were an eye opener.”