High school kids to the rescue!

Region: Central Australia | Topic: Livestock
May 2021 | Alison Kain, Pastoral Production Officer

Student collecting data for heard management

Caption: Danielle Brown showing student Ashley Harrison the importance of collecting accurate records for herd management and research projects.

February is the start of a busy cattle handling period for the Northern Territory Government’s research farms in Central Australia. The weaning muster this February saw 914 animals processed over seven very long, hot days.

For the past couple of years, the Northern Territory Government cattle research stations have supported high school based agricultural education in Central Australia, with Rural Operations students from the Centralian Senior College (CSC) completing hands-on training as part of our cattle musters.

Danielle Brown runs the Rural Operations subject at CSC. Danielle says, “The students are gaining valuable skills that they can take with them into the Industry. We really value the opportunity to work with cattle on the research stations”.

This year the students were much more than just interested participants. Their involvement saved the day! On the biggest mustering day, three key personnel were unavailable so the students stepped up and provided the workforce that allowed the muster to go ahead. Bryan Gill (Old Man Plains Research Station manager) has many years of experience managing pastoral operations and was impressed by the student’s willingness to work hard and show genuine interest in the task at hand.

“Danielle does an amazing job getting the students ready so that they are really capable and helpful in the yards,” said Bryan. Along with supervising and educating the students about cattle research tasks, this February Danielle also took on the very important role of recording all research data observations onto the field computer.

The program is offered to students from various year levels. It is an elective subject, which means the students who join the class have a keen interest in agriculture. Rhiannon is in year 12 and Kelsie in year 10. As part of the muster, Rhiannon and Kelsey have learnt skills in moving cattle within the yards and, even though it’s hot, dusty work, they really enjoyed their experience. Other students, like Ashley, were involved in recording data helping them appreciate the importance of keeping detailed, accurate records.

The students showed a lot of maturity and responsibility with their tasks. These are great skills for kids who are showing real interest in being part of the rural industry when they leave school.

Student interested in learning cattle handling skills

Caption: Rhiannon Muller and Kelsie O’Toole are interested in working in rural industries when they leave school and showed a keen interest in learning cattle handling skills.

Student learning to move cattle through the yards

Caption: Blake Yodgee learning to quietly and safely move cattle in the yards. The students performed important roles during the musters.

Back to NT Rural Review - May 2021