Host: Anna Plains Station
Written by Helen Stoate – Owner, Anna Plains Station.
It is still early in the season on the Plains. In the early part of the year it is all about getting ready for mustering. The lead up to mustering is a bit like the feeling you get when playing cricket and you are next in to bat or when you are waiting for a flight at the airport and your plane gets delayed. Everyone just wants to get on with it.
Commencement of mustering is dictated by a number of factors. If it is too wet then you cannot drive around the property so mustering is delayed. A good season means that you may wish to delay mustering so the cattle gain more weight. The commencement of the live export boats is also critical as this is our main market for cattle.
Everyone starts getting itchy – helicopter pilots want to start flying, livestock agents want to start selling, truckies want to start trucking. And the long suffering pastoralist such as me who hasn’t had any income for six months wants to get some cash flow happening.
On the station at this time, it is all about preparation. There is a long list to complete:
- Making sure all vehicles are serviced and ready to go.
- Ensuring all cattle supplies are ordered such as vaccines, drenches, tags etc.,
- Ensuring the truck is ready to go to move cattle around the property
- Repairing all the fences
Much of the work that we do all year round on the property prepares us for the onslaught of mustering like grading the roads and the maintenance of fences. All of our roads we grade ourselves which is a massive job given that we have nearly 1000km of roads.
This year was a particularly early start to our mustering program, kicking off in mid-March with the first sales before the end of March. Strong demand from our main market in Indonesia has seen live export boats arrive early in the Kimberley thus making for an early start to our mustering program.
Of course the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence – now we are into the thick of mustering we are longing for the relative peace and quiet of the wet season. All the jobs at the homestead mount up as we search for extra time to do them.