Griff Symonds and wife Janet manage Mt Flora Station which sits between Nebo and Moranbah on the Peak Downs Highway. Together with Matt Garside (head stockman) Griff and their team have just completed their 11-week mustering. Mt Flora employs a number of jackaroos and jillaroos to assist with the muster and safety is a key focus, particularly when yarding stock.
“We’ve got a crew of new staff and they’re very capable, but they’re still learning as well. Our old yards were fairly labour intensive and you needed to spend more time in them with the cattle.”
“Now that we’ve built these, stock work is much safer and more efficient because they’re able to work the cattle without getting in with them, particularly in the working area. I think that tends to let them build confidence in themselves and develop their cattle handling skills.”
“We’re a commercial beef herd operation, primarily Drought Master, Brahman cross. Running around seven and a half thousand adult breeder cattle. Turning off primarily weaners, direct to market.”
“We’re probably coming off our busiest time of year. First round of mustering usually goes from late February through to May/June and then start again in the middle of August taking us through to mid-November. And this year there are no rain interruptions to hold us up, so we’ve had a really good run.”
“We’ve sent eleven hundred steers, and just in the last two or three days there have been four hundred heffiers go to market. Plus, prime cows to sales in Rockhampton over the last eleven weeks.
“We try to work with the buyers with their requirements and a lot of the steers and the heffiers have gone back into the Western areas around Longreach to restockers. They’ve had reasonable rain throughout the year – or through Winter – and are now in a position to restock.
Griff contacted ProWay Livestock Equipment after seeing cattle yards in operation near Emerald and Dingo. “There’s a number of number of ProWay yards that I’ve delivered to and I was very impressed with the construction quality and safety aspect.”
From here ProWay worked closely with Griff to design a system that suited his needs and operation.
“It was an excellent experience. Initially we were looking at building something ourselves with a fairly traditional straight race, but we’re very happy that we went this way. The safety and stock flow benefits are clear.”
“The yards went in about 3 months ago and installation was a matter of weeks. As soon as they were completed, we had cattle coming into the yards and it’s made a big difference particularly processing our weaners.”
“If you look at the overall expense they are an asset that is going to last at least forty or fifty years. They’ll see me out and they’ll be more than likely to see my son out. Over that period of time a fairly cheap investment. Next year we’re planning on building a similar setup at Oxford Downs.”