Graziers learn how reducing stress improves animal welfare and increases production
A total of 48 beef producers recently attended two Low Stress Stockhandling (LSS) schools, held at the Webb family’s “The Bluff” station in the Charters Towers region, and the Dobe family’s DeSalis station in the Bogie Region of the Triple B.
Renowned LSS trainer Jim Lindsay taught participants the required skills and strategies to handle stock calmly, safely and efficiently, with benefits including improved animal welfare, increased production and better meat quality.
The events, organised by NQ Dry Tropics, were part of the Queensland Government-funded Grazing BMP (Best Management Practice) Program, which supports sustainable agriculture practices that aim to improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef. Event organiser Lisa Hutchinson, from NQ Dry Tropics, explained that the Grazing BMP Program is a voluntary, industry- led process that helps graziers to identify improved practices which can help improve the long-term profitability and sustainability of their enterprise.
“The Program also helps identify the steps you need to take to incorporate best management practices into your enterprise, and these excellent two-day events taught participants new knowledge and practical skills they can use straight away on their property”, she said.
“The beef industry is under increasing pressure to demonstrate ethical production and sustainable practices, and events like these provide a great opportunity to influence practice change – particularly given that the participants manage 28 grazing enterprises over an area of 500,000ha.
“This events were oversubscribed and only available to enterprises that had completed Grazing BMP self assessments. Participants found the schools stimulating and thought provoking – they challenged everything your dad taught you!
“I’d like to thank the Webb and Dobe families for hosting these events, especially considering the ongoing difficult weather conditions being experienced in their regions”, she said.
Feedback from attendees was very positive, with close to 100% planning to incorporate low-stress stockhandling into their management.
Verna Webb, of Merricourt Station in Charters Towers, attended the event at “The Buff”. She said “ It was an excellent school – highly valuable. We will definitely make changes to the way we work stock. I would love to see a follow up school”.
Craig Ross, of Kemmis Creek Station via Glenden, attended the event at DeSalis Station. He said “It was a really good school, I learned so much about better communication with animals and gained so much knowledge about handling livestock in general”.