About Me

My photo
"I would rather attempt something great and fail. Than to do nothing at all and succeed"

Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Livestock Management Symposium. 

G'day All,

We recently travelled to Queenslands beautiful Gold Coast, where we received a warm reception at The 2011 Society for Engineering in Agriculture Conference and The 2011 Spatially Enabled Livestock Management Symposium.    The symposium revealed some extremely impressive cutting-edge technology from institutions, scientists, engineers and enthusiasts in the agricultural sector right from around the world.
I was honoured to be the guest speaker at the symposium's dinner.  

A big thank you goes to the organisers of the dinner and Erik Schmidt and Mark Trotter for accommodating my involvement.

Cheers  Rob

Monday, September 19, 2011

Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and back to Texas. USA

G'day all,

Our journey through Utah ended when we travelled through the southern tip of Nevada, where we caught up with our friends and manager of Northern Territory cattle station - Idracowra; Tim and Marion Reilly.

From Utah to Nevada
A glimpse of Las Vegas from a distance. Certainly not cattle country!
Catching up with Tim and Marion in Las Vegas..
Even though our visit in Las Vegas was brief we were still able to get our kicks en route 66.

Nevada to California
The kids really had to twist my arm but I eventually gave in and stopped to say g'day to the place where memories begin!
Braxton and Lawson meeting with a very special friend.
Disneyland's adventure finally came to an end so we waved goodbye to California and travelled deep into Arizona...
From California to Arizona

...but the excitement didn't finish there, after a run in with the wildlife!!

In Australia we watch for kangaroos crossing the road...

You have to watch where you gather firewood because you never know what's hanging around.
Grand Canyon – How blessed we are, to be able to overlook one of the world's seven wonders.
Overlooking the Grand Canyon.
On the south rim of the Grand Canyon - note to all wheelchair users, the Grand Canyon is extensively accessible with a cement path right around the rim.
A quick stop for fuel where we caught up with a long haul cattle truck which is the equivalent to Australia's road train.
New Mexico, Texas and Lousiana

From Arizona to Louisiana via New Mexico and Texas.
... and yet another state behind us.
After our quick trip through New  Mexico we caught up with fellow Australian scholar, Aaron Sanderson, who was headed north from Texas.
Catchup with Aaron.
On our journey between Texas and Louisiana we drove up on a truck that caught fire on the freeway. Both Texas and Louisiana have currently been fighting bushfires over the last month due to the dry weather. Just when they thought they had seen the last of it, this happens.  Luckily nobody was injured.
Truck on fire between Texas and Louisiana.
Our final visit in the USA was at Campti, Louisiana. With Len and Kay Dalton from Dalton's cow dogs.
Meeting Len and Kay Dalton
Len is running an extensive cow dog breeding and training operation, by crossbreeding a 1/8 pitbull with his Border Collie's. He has also just begun crossbreeding border Collie's with Kerr dogs.

Six dog boxes on the back of lens Polaris (electric) means he'll never be caught short of dogs while out mustering.
These dogs would be ideal for a large-scale cattle operation, they have the mentality and alertness of a Border Collie and the strength and aggressiveness of the pitbull. Their willingness to please and ability to work, speak for themselves. In my opinion Len and Kay have created and trained the ideal working dog.  The Dalton's calm and quiet approach and extensive training have turned man's best friend into man's ideal work tool.
Len has over 20 years of dog training and breeding experience up his sleeve and here he shares some tips with me after a day of training his numerous cow dogs.
Kay and Krystal giving the old chair a once over.

And back again to where we started our journey - Dallas Texas!

A special thank you to my cousins Krystal Cook and Luke Cook for helping me with my travels in the USA.
And what better way to show my thanks, then a night out at a major-league baseball game.

Cheering the Texas Rangers on to victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Like always we were the last to leave. But what a night!
As the sun sets over Dallas Texas so does my time in the USA. Now we have to look forward to a 16 hour flight back to Australia.

Sunset over Dallas
Well, That concludes Stage 2 of my Nuffield travels, stay tuned for Stage 3.

Cheers Rob 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Colorado to Utah, USA

A couple of pics along the way.
We crossed this bridge during our journey through Colorado.

From Colorado to Utah

A break from driving and stopover for the kids.

As we travelled through Utah it's easy to understand
why there isn't a lot of cattle production, when this is
the countryside. However it made spectacular viewing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Colarado, USA

Hi All,

Well, we couldn't drive through Colorado without visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park, the views were absolutely mind blowing.
Rocky Mountain National Park - Colorado

My Little Family and I check out the spectacular views -
Rocky Mountain National Park!
My youngest son getting up close and personal with the wildlife -
It's a chipmunk!
My beautiful wife and I - Overlooking Bear Lake!
Cheers, Catch you at the next stop!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Manhatten, Kansas & Clay Centre, Nebraska, USA

G'day All,

Manhatten, Kansas

Our next visit in Kansas was at the Beef Stocker Unit, which is set in the beautiful rolling hills, not far from Manhattan.
From Lorraine to Manhatten
My host was Dr Dale Blasi and his offsider and site manager Brendan. We discussed some of the more recent technology the University is exploring, including their yard design and feed rations.  Dr Blasi also explained the need for seasonal burning (for weed control) throughout the entire ranch.
Discussion time - Brendan, Dr Dale Blasi and myself.
The backyard work, made easy through the use of "Molly Manufacturing's" turret gate and hydraulic crush.
Beef Stock - Backyards

This device is inserted inter-vaginal, which then records the heifers temperature every 20 seconds. This helps in exploring the effects of stress and also oestrus cycle identification.
Inter-vaginal Thermometer
The device is then extracted and simply plugged
into a PC via a USB cable to download its data.

We then travelled into Manhattan and met with Dr Bob Larsen who showed us throughout the animal science and veterinary section of the Kansas State University. Dr Larsen extensively toured us throughout the bovine and equine sections of the veterinary clinic.
Dr Bob Larsen from the Kansas State University

A typical examination pen in the cattle area.
A 360° rotating cattle crush. Which is commonly used for hoof maintenance, Caesareans and any procedures that require the beast to be on its back
Rotating Cattle Crush - front view.

Rotating Cattle Crush - side view.
Clay Centre, Nebraska

Our next visit was at the USDA meat animal research Centre in Clay Centre Nebraska. Where researcher John Hollman drove us around some of the 35,000 acres of the USDA property.
Around World War II 50,000 acres were acquired at a minimal expense from farmers in the area.  Bunkers, which were camouflaged from the air, were builts to store artillery, ammunition and explosives.  1300 bunkers were built in total.
Rows of bunkers which covered thousands of acres.
A portion was then sold back to farmers after the war and the rest remained US property and has provided the USDA with the research facility. 900 bunkers are still standing today and provide an overkill of storage room.
An abandoned bunker now used for storage.
The research Department is home to 6000 cattle and thousands of pigs and sheep excluding a 5000 head feedlot. The department also owns and operates a slaughtering facility.  I then sat down to a presentation from Dr Roger Eigenberg and Dr Tami Brown – brand of contributing factors to heat stress on feedlot cattle. 
John Hollman, Dr Roger Eigenberg and Dr Tami Brown
from the Animal Research Centre
On our drive from the USDA animal research Centre towards the next appointment we passed by a neighbouring property which has turned the abandoned bunkers into a commercial piggery.
Bunkers converted to a Piggery
Catch you at the next stop.

Cheers, Rob

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dodge City & Lorraine, Kansas, USA

Hey All,

We couldn't tour Kansas and not visit Dodge city, which is home to some of the biggest processing and packing plants not to mention feedlots.
From Pratt to Dodge City
But just as famously, it's where the legend of Wyatt Earp began.
Here we are with the Wyatt Earp statue in the centre of town.
Dodge City, processing and packing plant.
Let us not forget Dodge City's "Miss Kitty and the Dancing Saloon Girls"
Our next stop was an extremely exciting visit for myself. We travel to Lorraine where owner and manager John Mollhagon showed us throughout one of the many Molly Manufacturing factories.
From Dodge City to Lorraine
Priced around $50,000 you get the world-famous Turret gate, race and crush which is all hydraulic and operated by remote control.  The speed and accuracy is extremely fast and efficient.  The hydraulic crush is extremely well built, the thinnest material used is 6 mm wall RHS.  This factory can produce on average 3 crushes a day.
A demo configuration John put together for my benefit.
Manufacturing of a Hydraulic Crush
Stockpile of Hydraulic Crushes
Computerised Bandsaw
Spot Welding Robot. (I was speechless)
The Production Line
John Mollhagon and Myself
Thankyou for a tour I won't forget John!!

Cheers All,