Mentors are key

Host: Dr. Bryce Mooring
Written by Dr. Bryce Mooring – Co-owner, Broome Cattle Vets.

Dave Morrell has been involved in the Kimberley beef industry from a small boy growing up on Louisa Station and as a veterinarian for over 40 years. This is a man whom has invested his entire life into the beef industry, guided it through being declared Brucellosis and Tuberculosis free and has overseen many developments in the export industry. Dave has been a mentor to many young pastoralists some of whom are now managers of very successful Kimberley beef enterprises. His guidance has shown me the dedication and commitment you need to truly help our Kimberley and Pilbara beef industry evolve.

To be involved in the beef industry as a young man or woman should now more than ever be a very attractive and real option for those leaving school, still studying a profession or starting out in the stock camp. We have been fortunate to have been guided through the tough times by those before us and now are faced with fantastic returns from beef. It is important for organisations representing the beef industry and beef properties themselves to endeavour to educate those wanting to be involved in our industry and give them every reason to want to stay.

It is fantastic to see that many stations have annual stock handling and horse handling courses for their staff. On top of this exposing these same staff to talks from industry leaders and allowing them to engage and ask questions about why properties are implementing certain management strategies and what goals they wish to achieve, is imperative to progression on both an individual property scale and as an industry. I have never seen such a willingness to understand not only the production of beef on the station, but the process of what happens when it leaves the paddock to when it arrives at the trading partners feedlot facility. It is so exciting to be involved in an industry that is hungry for constant improvement and to provide a world-renowned product.

In a time where cattle prices have hit record highs around Australia and the North is finally experiencing what seems to be a normal wet (something we have not seen for several years) it is easy to think everything is going ahead and will continue to do so. Finally, there is the money to develop waters, increase fencing, preg test. But I feel that we must be careful as an industry not to make the same mistakes of industries before us. More often than not a happy medium will allow us to continue to develop our beef enterprises and ensure that it is both financially and productively stable for generations to come. When exporters are reducing the number of ships they are chartering, with some even struggling to continue trading and when overseas partners are reluctant to commit to as many cattle from Australia we must be careful to approach this new-found positivity for producers with a balanced view toward a sustainable future.