Since 2015 significant investment has been made in water at Nerrima Station with the addition of five bores, creating 20 new watering points. Six large paddocks have been subdivided, creating an additional six paddocks to Nerrima’s rangeland operations, adding value to cattle management practices across the station.
The House Yards have been given a significant overhaul including large shaded areas over the race and crush areas, a new hydraulic crush and weaner cradle, shade over all yard troughs and an upgrade to the loading out facility. Another set of yards, Tutus, has also been almost completely re-built. All weaning yards are now covered with large permanent shade structures, with additional new shade structures built in heifer calving paddocks. Other infrastructure completed at Nerrima in recent years includes a new hay and machinery shed, new helicopter hanger, new generator and shed, a new under- ground power network and upgraded staff accommodation.
Nerrima’s staff enjoy the benefits of continual staff training provided by Hancock Agriculture, such as remote first aid, motorbike and horsemanship skills, horse-shoeing and low stress stock handling courses, to encourage their skills and confidence as station employees to grow. Monthly Tool Box meetings encourage discussion about, and endeavour to find solutions to, recent health and safety issues, and regularly remind staff that their health and safety is integral to Nerrima and the Hancock Agriculture Group.
The creation of new watering points, extra permanent shade and an extensive salt and mineral lick programme all contribute to improving the welfare, productivity and weight gain of Nerrima’s herd whilst they are out in their paddocks. Whilst in the yards, a weaner-tailing program is used to instil fundamentals in the cattle from an early age, teaching them to move through the yards calmly. To complement this training, Nerrima’s stock camp put into practice low-stress stock handling principles and have an ‘Attitude is Everything’ approach when handling cattle. Ie “happy cattle are better cattle “ Appropriate pain prevention and relief are used to ensure that the time the cattle spend in the yards is as quick and stress-free as possible. Massage brushes are installed to give them a positive experience .
Along with improved wifi and mobile phone reception, the installation of a new radio system in 2016, significantly improved signals across the station and includes advanced safety features. The continual investment in the technology and software for cattle data-recording ensures all information about Nerrima’s herd is efficiently recorded and available at any time for review and analysis.
As part of Hancock Agriculture’s industry-leading adoption of the latest technology, Nerrima has been conducting BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) drone trials. As an early adopter, Nerrima Station is the first Pastoral operation to hold a BVLOS permit. Hancock Agriculture sees drones as playing an important role in the future of agriculture, providing increased safety for staff and superior management tools. BVLOS drone operations include aerial survey & mapping, inspections of livestock & water and other infrastructure, fire and flood and pasture monitoring and weed identification.
Over the last five years there has been a switch from diesel powered generators to solar power being used on bores, with the installation of 22 solar systems. Solar hot water systems and insulation are installed.
The 332,000ha Nerrima landscape is dominated by the bold red colours of the pindan and many Boab trees. Nerrima has 14,000 head of Brangus cross cattle which are mustered in two rounds during the dry season from April to October each year. Nerrima’s 11 staff enjoy attending rodeos, campdrafts and race-days.
The McClarty family, who were pioneering pastoralists in the 1880’s, were the first to take up the pastoral lease for Nerrima Station, as well as Liveringa and four other near-by stations. The Freney Kimberley Oil Company drilled for oil on Nerrima in the 1930’s and 1940’s, however the second world war interrupted the search and oil was never found on Nerrima. Remnants of drilling equipment from those years still remain on Nerrima. By the early 1980’s the McClarty family had sold all of its pastoral leases and since that time, under a number of different owners Nerrima has typically been used as an ‘out-station’ for adjoining Liveringa. This changed however, in late 2015, when Hancock Agriculture purchased Nerrima and it was once again operated as an independent station.
It has been great for the manager and staff to see the improvements added to Nerrima station, the improvements in staff accomodation, cattle welfare and technology have been especially welcome. Moral is high amongst our station family at Nerrima. We are proud to be a part of Hancock agriculture, and appreciate our chairman Mrs Rinehart’s visits, especially at Easter time, when we all get together from different stations to plan our station budgets and discuss more ways to improve the properties. It is terrific to be part of the team then putting these improvements into reality, and wanting to make our stations, Australia’s best.