From the desk of Dorothy, Project Officer Communications. 

Braving the nippy late-May weather, our communications project officer Dorothy jumped on a bus with other beef producers from the Esperance region for ASHEEPs Annual Cattle Field Day. The group travelled to sites west of Esperance, looking at a rotational grazing system for Angus cattle implemented by Peter and Claire Hough on John Sharpe’s property, making the most of the perennial pastures established by John over the years.

Esperance Rural Supplies agronomist, Theo Oorschot, chatted about gibberellic acid’s use to boost pasture growth during the cold months. Westcoast Wool and Livestock representative Gerald Wetherall provided the group with a cattle market update.

At the Bell family’s Jerdacuttup property, Matthew Bell described his production system, breeding program and marketing of cattle. Esperance Livestock Transport’s John Mitchell talked about eNVD apps, and preparing cattle for transport, while Gallagher fencing representatives Graeme Mulligan and Murray Green gave a presentation on virtual and exclusion fencing. Of note to land carers was the effectiveness of electric fencing on containment/exclusion of invasive species like pigs.

Then South Coast NRM Regional Landcare Agricultural Facilitator, Sophie Willsher took the floor, which was actually a bit of paddock overlooking the Southern Ocean, to discuss drought resilience, both for the sustainability of the farm, and the prosperity of our communities. Dorothy said she was encouraged to see the group of cattle farmers listening to Sophie with interest and respect, a reward for South Coast NRM’s years of work and relationship building. In her mind at least!

From the Bell’s property, Dorothy and Sophie travelled to the property where Dr Enoch Bergman and Dr Matt Carrick operate their Wild West Wagyu enterprise. The two “Wild West” vets use embryo transfer to achieve Wagyu calves carried in Angus cattle. Enoch (Swans Veterinary Services) talked to producers about ASHEEP’s four new Meat and Livestock Australia Producer Demonstration Site projects (CN30, bull breakdown, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV), and optimising age of weaning). Zoetis representative Ben Fletcher, with support from Enoch, gave background on vaccine options for bull breakdown and BVDV.

The day ended with a burger and other refreshments around a bonfire, and more chatter about farming. The interesting conversations were smattered with talk of regenerative agriculture, fox and rabbit control and pasture production. South Coast NRM’s participation worked towards cementing its profile within a forward-thinking industry group that is taking the challenge of animal production and natural resource management seriously.