Friday, January 31, 2014

Semi-arid break Pt2

So, where does your meat  come from?

Chances are, if you  are looking for best  quality,  it comes from here.  North western NSW or south  western Queensland.

Nothing would survive out here if it was not for bore water and the best  2 inventions in addition to  water for outback cattle stations are- the UHF radio and poly  pipe.

My  uncle, Jim Cotter, on Boorara (now Kilcowera) at a cave near the Murders bore

When  my  grandfather worked these properties, bore water flowed across open "table drains". This is much  less efficient than using pipe to  run the water to  water troughs.

Its a primary  function of cattle production to  keep these troughs clean. Cattle don't drink from dirty  troughs, and in drought, the troughs become focal points for native wildlife, stock, was well as ferals.

Later Harley  Davidsons with  side cars replaced horses- Jim Cotter on rocky  rise Boorara

Pigs, for example, will  have a swim and sometimes their young will  too. Sadly  unable to  get back our they  can  drown.  I  need not tell you  what  that  results in.

Rounds troughs are not as good as long troughs, as they are more like a swimming pool. Longer troughs reduce the number of animals that  choose to  swim.

Dave checking the well being of the cattle dogs whilst the Cruiser idles in the heat… the terrain not much  different to 60+ years ago...

So, Dave and myself spent the day  with my cousin Frosty, driving across a couple of hundred thousand acres, cleaning troughs.  Its simple enough- a scrubbing brush, pull the plug and let the water out. Some of the troughs were ok- just. Others, on a neighbouring property  were utterly  putrid and stank.

Its hot work.. You  count even risk turning off the land cruiser in the it may  not start, and it can be 80km to  walk back. Impossible in  50c heat.

Frosty giving the dogs a swim in 50c heat as we clean the trough

Again, like the day  before by 2pm its just  too hot to  continue, so  an ice cold beer and a chat were the order of the afternoon.

How can  you  tell a good cattleman? By  how clean his troughs are. Frosty's are very  clean!