WA pastoralists learn to de-stress stock to increase productivity

[November 2012] 

WA pastoralists were recently given the opportunity to attend the 'Stress Free Stockmanship' workshops that were subsidised through Rangelands NRM’s Sustainable Pastoralism Program.

The workshops, run by pastoralist and consultant Bruce Maynard, are based on the scientific research that shows links between the mental stresses that stock face and their production.

The first section of the workshop was held in August 2012 and covered topics including eliminating stress factors to maximise production and reproduction; advice for handling 'rogue' animals; getting yard work done with less staff as well as designing and building yards.

The second part of the workshop was held earlier this month at Lyndon Station.

Newly-appointed Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Southern Rangelands) Jane Bradley attended the workshops and said it focused on changing animal behaviour with relation to what they eat.  

"The workshop demonstrated how it is possible to teach animals to eat weeds and native species they haven't previously utilised," Ms Bradley said.

"Bruce Maynard explains that stock can learn a new behaviour, and thus can help the environment as they become biological controllers of weeds."

Fifteen pastoralists in the rangelands received support to attend the workshop. Each day included practical demonstrations, active participation in the yards and paddock, group discussion and demonstration videos.