Mustering Brahman cattle on Wave Hill Cattle Station. The station is made up of two leases (Wave Hill and Cattle Creek) established in 1883, with a combined area of over 3 million acres (12,804 sq km or 4,942 sq mi). The homestead is about 10km off the paved Buntine Highway and about 30km from the township of Kalkarindji. Cattle ranching is very seasonal in the Northern Territory, with most of the non-sealed roads unusable during the wet season from December through March, when the cattle are left in near-wild conditions to graze on the abundant fresh grass, and the stations have only a skeleton crew of caretakers. Dry season population here is +\- 28 people.
This year was very wet, over a meter (1.055mm, the average is 680mm). There are currently 40,000 cattle on the property, and they plan on increasing that to 65,000 with better management and new solar-powered wells on southern sections of the property that were previously undeveloped due to the lack of dry season water. The station was purchased two years ago for A$104M by a group led by the MacLachlan Family which has over a dozen sheep and cattle stations scattered across Australia. They plan to invest about A$40M to upgrade fences, water systems, etc., and get rid of unproductive cattle. You can maintain a healthy herd on a well-run cattle station while selling about 1/3 of the livestock yearly. The mustering is done so that they can go through the herd to separate the one-year-old “weaners” from their mothers, all the wearers will be branded and given ear tags, and the males will be castrated. They sell 2-year-old cattle (except the most desirable young females), the unproductive old females, and all of the male calves. The bulls are bought from off-station to keep them genetically mixed and are vaccinated against venereal diseases, and all adult cattle are vaccinated for botulism. Approx 3 bulls per hundred cows.
- ©2023 George Steinmetz
- Image Size
- 5865x3905 / 65.6MB
- Contained in galleries