Low-stress approach yields high-end results

Zach RelphCountryman
John Mitchell, Richard Climas and Kris Parsons, 16, at the stockhandling event.
Camera IconJohn Mitchell, Richard Climas and Kris Parsons, 16, at the stockhandling event. Credit: Zach Relph

The farmers of tomorrow have gained insight into fostering a low-stress livestock environment to increase productivity and improve meat quality at an innovative two-day course.

Held at the Mitchell’s Transport depot in Waroona last Thursday and Friday, Low Stress Stock Handling trainer Grahame Rees outlined the techniques to 14 agricultural students.

Mr Rees said the approach, practised on livestock cattle at the event but which can also apply to sheep, was effective in maintaining livestock weight.

“The program shares theory and a practical aspect in an advanced way that boosts productivity and profit while allowing people to work in a low-stress environment,” he said.

“A business can lose half its profit due to animal shrinkage if a they’re not transported and loaded correctly.”

Fourteen students across the WA College of Agriculture’s Cunderdin, Harvey, Denmark, Narrogin and Morawa campuses participated in the two-day course.

The students underwent a gruelling selection process to take part in the program, which included preparing a resume before being selected by their respective schools.

WA College of Agriculture — Cunderdin student Kris Parsons said the event was a worthwhile exercise.

The 16-year-old said he was eager to apply the techniques when he returned to his family’s pastoral lease, Coolawanyah Station, about 100km north of Tom Price.

Mitchell’s Transport chief executive John Mitchell said the program prepared students ahead of entering the workforce.

“We want to inspire these people to be future industry leaders,” he said.

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