Success for Low Stress Stock Handling workshop

Over 25 landholders came together earlier last week to learn techniques from expert trainer Chook Kealey. Thanks to Chook’s (and Low Stress Stockhandling Pty Ltd’s) reputation the two-day course quickly attracted landholders as far away as Clermont to Yaamba.

Starting in the classroom, attendees underwent theory before they ventured out into the sweltering heat of the yard. Under the care and guidance of Chook, the group put their new-found knowledge into action. Learning where to position themselves and when to apply pressure and to take it off. This task isn’t easy, as the methods often go against human instinct when working stock.

LSS is about gaining the animals trust by understanding their natural behaviour. However, for participants do this they have to first learn that they instinctively work stock like a predator. Animals when worked with LSS method quickly become resilient to change and therefore easy and willing to be moved.

On the second day of the workshop, a team of three participants showed off their newly found skills by yarding up a small mob through a human gate beside a loading ramp from a holding paddock. There are many benefits for livestock and landholders when it comes to LSS. One producer who has had first-hand experience with this payback is Neil Farmer.

Neil Farmer kindly allowed FBA to host the workshop on his property (Lake Learmonth) and partook in the workshop for the third time in four years. When asked why he keeps coming back Farmer said, “there’s always something different to take away – a new tip or trick in understanding the cattle’s headspace.” LSS has had positive economic and environmental outcomes for his enterprise stating that “before using LSS a job of moving 250 head of cattle used to take three people on bikes, now I can move 800 – 1,200 head of cattle by myself.”

Neil wasn’t the only attendee undertaking the workshop again, with some landholders attending for the fourth and even sixth time. However, novices and advanced handlers alike, the top takeaways from the event were the same.

Here’s what the 25 attendees agreed were their favourite learnings from the two-day event.

  • Learning how to move and process cattle more efficiently and productively
  • Understanding individual animals in a herd and the herd as a whole
  • Feeling more confident to handle mobs with rotational grazing

This workshop is a part of the three-part series, funded by the Australian Government and delivered through Reef Trust, in collaboration with Reef Alliance. If you would like to learn more about Low Stress Stock Handling, get in contact with one of our Senior Land Management Officers.