Friday, December 4, 2015

Herd Building on Jervoise Station (A study of being unprepared for the task)

There are not many worthwhile endeavors in life where one can fly by the seat of their pants without any planning and succeed. The Jervoise project has more than proven that point. Being in the economic situation they are (See my last post) one can understand cutting some corners.

The two things lacking at Jervoise (which are currently being remedied) are water infrastructure and crew. In order for cattle to retain the desire to work as a herd, all stress needs to be remove, and this includes the stress of competing for water. No matter how much flow a drinker may have, if cattle numbers are so great they are fighting to get a drink, the cattle will not remain together as a herd. This was a big problem on Jervoise. The second problem was a lack of crew.

A big part of instilling herd instinct is being able to have all of the cattle head out from water to graze in the same direction as a herd. This presented a problem as we seldom had as many as four people to keep track of over three thousand head coming off of water in a timbered area. Despite that fact, the cattle did act as a herd...until we put them in a situation where they were stressed by having to wait in line for a drink. The problems of water and crew are being addressed and the plan is to try it again after the wet season. In the meantime, here is a video showing the basics of getting a large herd of cattle to acting as a single herd.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Jervoise Station Introduction

I recently spent three months on Jervoise Station in Queensland, Australia. This integrated organic cattle/beef operation is an example of government and banking gone terribly wrong. The government owned power company decided it "needed" the land their abattoir (packing plant) was on and forced them off the property for pennies on the dollar. If this wasn't bad enough, their bank decided that their growing meat business was not worth reinvesting in, applied what little money they received against their loan and began a campaign to force them off the cattle station.

Last summer they acquired Rodger Savory as station manager, who has bought them some time, but they are still needing to build a new abattoir on the station to save their place.
Save Jervoise Organic Station from insight creative on Vimeo.