Graziers learn how to handle a herd with care

Increased weight gain, increased conception rates and improved carcass quality are just a few of the benefits of low stress cattle handling.

A total of 21 graziers representing 12 properties attended a low stress stock handling clinic at the Bowen River showgrounds last month to learn the principles of good stock handling and low stress concepts to make informed decisions to achieve maximum cost effective production gains with low stress livestock.

A total of 21 graziers representing 12 properties attended a low stress stock handling clinic at the Bowen River showgrounds last month to learn the principles of good stock handling and low stress concepts with leading educator and cattleman Jim Lindsay.

Hosted by NQ Dry Tropics’ Landholders Driving Change (LDC) project, organiser Senior Field Officer Brendan Smith said low stress stock handling had grown as a recognised management technique for landholders.

“Research has shown wide reaching implications from improved stock management through low stress behaviour,” Mr Smith said.

“This includes herd health and productivity, improved grazing habits and subsequent environmental benefits, reduced impacts of predation as well as reduced labour costs providing economic incentive to land managers.

“Take the stress out of stock handling is the goal of all in the beef industry so it was great for local graziers to learn from one of the best, leading educator and cattleman Jim Lindsay,” he said.

The clinic was a mixture of theory and practical to build background knowledge and understanding.  This was followed by time in the yards with cattle, a practical approach to showcase key concepts for communication with stock and highlighting the importance of position, movement and pressure when working cattle.

The response to the clinic was well received.

Sean Handley, of Wootonvale Station, said he learned how to recognise and work with animal instincts to produce low stress outcomes.

“As a result of this clinic we’ll make changes in how we move cattle in the yards by using techniques to slow cattle down and apply pressure to move them in a calm and measured way,” Mr Handley said.

Dan Kenny, of Dartmoor Station, said the practical session provided him with confidence to apply the low stress approach.

“I’m sure with practice and persistence we will achieve what we want with our cattle.  We’ll definitely be making yard changes to allow cattle to flow more efficiently, as well as providing a safe working environment for staff,” Mr Kenny said.

The clinic was organised through the Landholders Driving Change Grazier Support program, delivering flexible, tailored services, extension, education and training to graziers in the Bowen and Collinsville area.  The LDC project aims to tackle erosion and improve land management, productivity and Reef water quality in the Burdekin region.

Main photo: Low stress stock handling educator Jim Lindsay explains the importance of position, movement and pressure when working with cattle.