Host: Noreena Downs Station
Written by Kate Paull – Owner, Noreena Downs Station.
Wow yipee yi yo yeah another load of export Mickeys on board today, lovin it! More Mickey bulls please from Peadonah stock camp (yes siree we are out at stockcamp at the moment where we will spend six to seven weeks and we should get a mob of sale cattle from this area).
You are probably wondering why I am so excited to load the truck up with a mob of bulls and Muchea sale cattle (four decks = 100 mickeys, nine cows and 16 heifers) and why I want more? Well simple these are Noreena’s main income and these sales allow my family to stay at Noreena for another year, the majority of pastoralists are struggling with finance.
I haven’t just loaded these bulls and Mucheas onto any truck, these moocas (cattle) are on modified, up to date stock crates that belong to Woggles (Richard) and Joanne Greenfield who own Greenfield Contractors. They cart cattle year in year out and they set a high standard in the industry with the animal welfare side of it and they are true blue to their word from the moment they rock up at your yards. We run through the plan with them – what’s going on the truck and what’s the best way to pen them for each mob.
Personally, light cattle on go top deck and heavies bottom deck (always put your lighter cattle on the top and your biggest heaviest cattle down the bottom and at the front so the trailer is not top heavy and doesn’t flip over when you turn a corner or the other trailer kisses (knocks together front and back) when you go through a dip etc.). Each pen is penned with room for one extra but we don’t put that one extra on, these cattle must have air moving in between them to circulate especially fat cattle as they get hot and it gives room for one or more to sit down without being trodden on as most of these cattle travel approx 1350km to sale destination and they must be allowed to have a rest.
One of Greenfield’s original trucks loading at Peadonah cattle yards in 2002, check out the old loading ramp, homemade job, done us proud, now retired on the Peadonah yard flat as we don’t want to scrap it as it is part of our history and I think it looks cool.
As soon as your cattle walk up that ramp and into those cattle trailers the truck driver takes those cattles welfare into his/her own hands, a huge responsibility hey . . . I know I can trust Greenfield Contractors open-heartedly to cart Noreena’s cattle safely and with as much care as they have for their beloved ones, I have tremendous respect for Australia’s cattle carters.
The weight and responsibility on their shoulders is beyond recognition, they have to apply themselves to everyone’s standards, they have rules and guidelines from the government bodies that they have to follow to a strict regime and when carting the cattle they are carting your next pay cheque which is the control of your livelihood = PRESSURE TO THE MAX.
The dried blood near the ears is from when they were de-horned (it drips from the tip of the horn onto their cheek), the horns are all dry now, and this is an example of the one extra room bit I was talking about. These Mickeys are still sorting themselves out, who sits/stands next to who on the bus.
Check out these hefty bottoms, beef butts on the move, notice how the cattle are in a line, once they are penned up they shuffle around until majority are all side by side, bums to the air and head to the air.
WITHOUT TRUCKS AUSTRALIA STOPS
Woggles has been carting Noreena’s cattle for approx 15 years, he used to cart cattle for my Dad (Tex) and now he carts for me, pretty cool hey? I love their cattle carting style, totally dig them! Greenfield Contractors have three trucks and heaps of cattle crate trailers, employ two other truckies who are the super duper cool Uncle Albert and Selby Ford and they service clients that they look after well.
Selby and Uncle Albert do their job with pride and excellence like Woggles and Joanne.
HOW THE DECKS WORK:
One trailer is a double decker and it has two decks (two levels) and four pens (two pens per deck), this is called two decks, four decks is two trailers and six decks is three trailers . . .
IMAGINE IT: you are in a Kenny (Kenworth) T904 road train with a Cummins Gen 2 signature engine towing four to six decks through this type of country fully loaded with beef . . .
The trailers gross out at approx 13 tonne (13000kg) each, dollys (a connection from the back of one trailer and goes under the front of the next trailer) are 2 to 2.5 tonne each and the prime mover is approx 15 tonne making it an approximate 58 tonne pulling machine and with say maybe some scrub bulls (big bulls that use to be cleanskins weighing 460-880kg) on and a bunch of obese cows (570-690kg) on as well bringing the total tonnage out to somewhere around the 130 tonne( 130000kg) mark, get your head around that.
Maintenance on truck and cattle crate trailers never stops. I’m happy I don’t have their tyre bill, I reckon it might cause me to faint, the prime mover has eight drive tyres and two steer tyres. The dollys have eight tyres, each cattle crate trailer has 12 tyres plus four spares per trailer, so rightio here goes. . .
A six decker truck has a whopping 74 tyres, aye yi yi my head is already starting to spin at this number. Fuel (diesel) is burnt towing this beast, it averages out at maybe 1-1.2km/litre on a not so windy day get a crosswind and then watch it more than likely fall to 0.7km/litre, bugger that! The cost for these rigs goes on and on, simply you don’t do this type of work/business for the money, you would just have to love it and give a shit about the people and the cattle otherwise you just mentally couldn’t do it.
YEAH GO THE TRUCKIES
Today we loaded Selby up with the cattle, always an entertaining moment, especially when he told me to let all the lovely ladies out there know he is single and loves long walks on the beach (Selby if you ever read this my mischief has no limits). Lee is learning to be a truckie, he’s hiding behind the gate so he can close the second last bottom pen off when the last beast enters, it’s a safety thing, saves the truckie running into a pen and not having anywhere to run when a cranky cattle beast turns back at you.