Shiny Cattle in the Long Paddock

It is prudent in times of drought, such as now, to allow a few extra minutes for the trip to town. You see, the road is also the stock route, a legacy of the pre-semi trailer era and now a very useful resource for stock owners to give their paddocks some respite from the poor season. Drought brings the mobs out of the paddocks onto the “Long Paddock”.

I don’t think it does the country along the stock route much harm either, a good crash graze to knock down rank grasses and help decrease fire risk.

Often the stock, especially cattle, were examples of reasonable breeding hiding behind the gaunt frames of drought, and my mind has often wondered about the comparison of the value of the animals to the cost of keeping them going.

This time around, though, I am hard pressed to find these half starved stock. There are plenty of cattle “on the road” hereabouts, and I am pleased to say the majority are in good shape. Their coats are shiny and they have some spring in their step. Doing it tough, they are not.

I suspect the reason for this is the general trend of improved management practices right across the board of Australian Agriculture.

The season here on the northern tablelands of New South Wales is as bad as many people care to remember. But while the pastures are short, and water low, stock in general are handling the situation very well.

Planned destocking, early weaning, supplementary feeding and the use of modern pasture systems have all played a part in keeping the animals in a good, productive capacity. The land has not been copping such a hiding either.

When the season inevitably breaks, the well managed stock and land will return to full production more quickly than has been the case in the past.

This scenario provides a powerful demonstration that would-be investors of Australian rural property are more likely to be able to secure a well managed, sustainable property now than they have in the past.

Where the cattle on the road during a drought are shiny, there’s good management at play.

Graham MacDougall
MacDougall Rural Property
02 6772 4200

Graham MacDougall has a lifetime association with rural property. In addition to 30 years in the cattle industry, for the past 8 years he has been specialising in the marketing of commercial agriculture and rural lifestyle properties in northern New South Wales.

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