Future members of WA’s cattle industry have taken part in a hands-on camp at Brunswick Showgrounds.
Nearly 100 participants from across WA gathered at Brunswick from March 29-31 for the annual WA Youth Cattle Handlers Camp.
Now in its 15 year, the three-day camp gives children aged eight to 25 the chance to learn more about cattle among like-minded peers from across WA.
It also promotes cattle-handling skills and ensures they are not lost within the industry, and boosts students’ understanding of cattle health and nutrition.
For the duration of the camp, each student was responsible for the care of a dairy or beef animal, including its bedding, grooming and showing the animal for judging.
Camp chairwoman Jess Andony said the animal pairing taught students how to look after cattle.
”They are taught how to safely handle their animal, and about their animal’s requirements, along with learning the key skills to successful cattle showing,” she said.
“This includes preparation, such as washing and clipping, and then leading and judging.
“Many guest speakers are also involved in the program, with topics such as public speaking, biosecurity and animal health.”
The camp also invites a young beef and dairy judge to teach and judge the competition.
This year’s judge for the beef section was Goondoola Livestock’s Hannah Powe, who travelled from New South Wales, while ST Genetics’ Mal Nikora judged the dairy.
Bullsbrook youngster Tatum Ryan, 12, won the prestigious Christopher Ferguson Memorial Award for Highest Beef Achiever sponsored by the cattle camp.
She will travel to the South Australian Junior Heifer Expo to further her skills and knowledge.
The Highest Dairy Achiever Award went to WA College of Agriculture – Denmark student Murray Findlay, 16, who won a trip to the National All Breeds Dairy Youth Camp in Victoria, sponsored by Holstein Australia.
Participants came from as far as Moora and Esperance and while many were from a farming background, others were animal science students and some had never handled cattle.
The program had a solid guest speaker line-up of industry professionals including Farmwest’s Nick Brasher and Sam Hall, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development stock identification and traceability operations manager Beth Green, DPIRD biosecurity officer Andrew Longbottom, WA vet Nicky Race, headspace’s Kelly Woods, and ABC Bunbury reporter Tyne Logan.
Ms Andony said the three-day event was a monumental effort, and she thanked the event’s diamond sponsor Farmwest as well as the event’s other “sponsors, helpers, supporters and cattle breeders involved in the camp”, who “volunteered time, knowledge and equipment”.