Host: Kadaitcha Pastoral Company
Written by James Christian
My cousin Sam and I got talking about ways to prop up our wages and decided beef cattle production was the best way forward.
Kadaitcha Pastoral Company had the simplest of origins. I was staying in Brisbane overnight with my cousin Sam, en route to Charleville for work, and we went out for a few beers and a bit of a yarn. Sam was working as an agricultural management consultant at the time, and was well exposed to cattle, land, machinery, and labour prices. I was working for a company that makes solar-powered walk-over weighing and auto-drafting equipment for livestock, based half the time in Alice Springs, and half the time on Sam’s parents’ station to the north-west of Alice.
All the normal topics were covered – the imbalance between work and life, sport, girls, and the land. At roughly the same moment we both suggested how good it would be to have a herd of our own, then how we’d go about it. We kicked a few ideas around and basically agreed to agree: it would be nice to have land and cattle, but his full time job in Brisbane, and my full time job based near Alice Springs would make it a difficult operation to keep tabs on.
A few months went by and the ideas kept bubbling along with the same result. He’d email through some prices and ideas, I’d reply with some commentary, and we’d agree that it would have been good to get involved earlier. Anyway, we got a little more serious about taking ourselves seriously. The first hurdle was to come up with a company name. Cousins Pastoral Company was the obvious first cab off the rank and provided access to more capital if we ever succeeded in conning our respective siblings into joining us on the trail blazing, but the initialism CPC was already taken… so that one hit the bin. It didn’t take long though, and Kadaitcha was ultimately selected. We spun up a company and opened a bank account. We were ready for business! Two young, capable lads with … nothing doing.
However, all was not lost. The northern neighbour to Sam’s parents’ station had a paddock available for lease, approximately 300km north-west of Alice Springs. We signed up for it despite having no cattle at that stage, and worked out that detail later. Quite promptly afterwards we scored the deal of the century from a local cattleman (and somewhat of a mentor for both of us) with some livestock from a station he was running out the other side of Alice, and all of a sudden the black sheep of the family were away! To top it off, the night the final load of cattle arrived in our paddock it rained for the first time in about six months.
Our obvious and natural excitement with getting things underway eventually subsided, but it remains a fun and interesting way of life. Animal husbandry is in theory relatively simple, but putting theory into practise is far from it. We’re continually learning, and have the benefit of plenty of wise heads to give us advice to ignore or forget, until we’ve learnt the hard way and can recall the advice. The dream is far from over. Bigger and better is just one deal around the corner, and when opportunity knocks we look forward to letting it in.