Keeping up with Kurt

Host: Country Downs Station
Written by Kurt Elezovich – Owner, Country Downs Station.

Once again, I have managed to convince Kurt to write about his perspective of what we have been up to and where we are heading . . . this is also great for me as I get a small window of insight as to whether Kurt and I are still on the same page . . . or not! I am sure that we are not the only couple that this happens too, however, both Kurt and I can attend exactly the same presentation (whether that be a conference, workshop, or forum of any description), and come out with a totally different perspective of what was presented, implied, and even sometimes straight out described! As we are both well aware of this now, we as often as possible, try to both attend the same function because if only one of us attends and reports back to the other . . . so many things tend to be ‘lost in translation’ and we end up not having any idea of what the other one is trying to describe! – Nikki

Anyway, here is Kurt’s opus:

Hello everyone, it’s time to share our experiences again! Managing an operation like this is far more challenging than people imagine, more than I thought anyway . . . and I was brought up in the industry! We have been having a pretty good season so far: good rains, cattle prices improving, starting to expand our operation again, kids growing fast, wife not too sour . . . all good, right?

Then comes the fire . . . 15km wide front and a fire weather warning on the radio, you know you’re in the shit! We actually do a lot of preventative work such as early burning mosaics, but this beast was driven by strong winds that just didn’t let up for weeks. We lost almost all of our pasture and possibly would’ve lost the homestead as well without the help of DFES and the Broome Bushfire Volunteer Brigade (BBFVB), who came out for days on end, helping save the 500acres of crop paddocks around the homestead. The rest of the property just kept burning . . . jumping firebreaks etc. It was just unstoppable with the weather conditions present. In truth, there was a lot more to it, but you get the gist! So our next challenge is to get through the next four months until it rains again! We already had a big year planned before the fire, now it’s become mammoth.

4.1Wednesday 6th August 2014, from the tank stand looking to the East.

4.2Wednesday 6th August 2014, from the tank stand looking to the South

4.3Wednesday 6th August 2014, from the tank stand looking to the North

4.4This is the back-burn that we did about 50m from the homestead . . . you can just imagine what it would look like if it were the fire heading towards us instead!

4.5Driving down tracks about 4hrs after the fire had passed through.

4.6The dozer was parked up in a cleared area that was directly in the path of the fire. It was quite a stressful trip, until we rounded to bend to find it still sitting there!

Many thanks has to go to all our friends (old and new),who have pitched in here and there to help us out, it really means a lot to us and really helps make a difference to the speed at which we can achieve things. We are agisting some stock on another station, as well as moving them to new areas on the property, we have drillers due this week (now about a week ago as you are reading this!), to do three more water points for us to help spread the herd across the landscape further in order to reduce stocking rates. We are also feeding more supplements to breeders and weaning down to much lighter weights than usual.

This all sounds relatively straight forward, but it sure isn’t, everything still breaks down . . . just to make things more interesting of course . . . and currently I am writing this instead of fixing the grader so that I can grade the roads for the drillers to get in and drill!!! So with that in mind I gotta go . . . as there doesn’t seem to be anyone else lining up to fix it for me. Kurt!