WA youngsters get a handle on caring for cattle

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Bob GarnantCountryman

The future caretakers of cattle put their best foot forward when the WA Youth Cattle Handlers Camp (WAYCHC) took place last week at the Brunswick Showgrounds.

This year, 55 children from all parts of WA attended the three-day camp to learn about the various aspects of the cattle industry.

Bruce Rock’s Lachlan Hunter made an impressive debut when he won the overall champion of the camp.

The Cunderdin agriculture student said he enjoyed the camp so much that it was his hope to introduce a few cattle to his family’s mixed sheep and cropping farm.

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“It all depends on if we get a good drop of rain,” Lachlan said.

The optimistic 15-year-old attributed his appreciation of animals as the key to his winning formula.

Lachlan’s accomplishment will see him off to the Charolais Regional Youth Camp in Queensland later this year.

WAYCHC chairman James Morris said the camp offered a unique “hands-on experience” with a wealth of experienced volunteers.

“Many children who have had the opportunity to get their feet wet at the camp, have tended to presume an important role somewhere in the beef or dairy industry,” Mr Morris said.

Judge Graeme Hopf, of Murwillumbah, NSW, said it gave him great pleasure to influence the next generation of cattle handlers.

“They learn as much about themselves as they do the animals,” Mr Hopf said.

He added that while they learnt, they also developed some great friendships along the way.

While Lachlan took out the highest beef achievers award, it was Daryl McDonald, of Dawesville, who was judged best in the dairy cattle section.

The Year 11 Harvey agricultural student said the win was “unbelievable”. “The Holstein heifer was a challenge to lead, but the judge gave me a well-done for my efforts,” Daryl said.

The 15-year-old is keen to tackle a farming career after he finishes school with hopes of putting his range of skills to good use.

Daryl qualified to go to the National All Breeds Dairy Youth Camp in Victoria.

Also achieving a top result was Billi Marshall, of Bindoon, who won the prestigious Herdsman Award.

The 15-year-old Bindoon agricultural student said the camp was a great experience.

Guest speakers included Paula Carroll, of Elders Bunbury, who spoke on animal health, while Enoch Bergman, of Swans Veterinary Services, Esperance, discussed cattle diseases and heifer management.

Leon Giglia, of Landmark, gave a talk on public speaking and Jack Nixon, of the Department of Agriculture and Food, explained the National Livestock Identification System procedures.

Rafael Ramalez, of Meat and Livestock Australia, demonstrated different cuts of meat.

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