Stock rough it on the road

COLLARENEBRI drover Joe Lang has had a mob of 700 cattle on the road since January last year and has been on the Manilla Rd near Attunga for about a week.

He’s droving a mixed mob of brahmans, angus and droughtmaster cattle for Collarenebri grazier Darryl Smith.

“It’s too dry. They haven’t had decent rain up there for 12 months – it’s just got worse and worse and there’s no grass up there at all,” Mr Lang said.

“It’s shocking out there around Walgett, Lightning Ridge – right out there in that western country it’s shocking.”

The mob has been on a section of travelling stock route about five kilometres north of Attunga for the past week and Mr Lang has also been carting 30,000 litres of water every morning from the Namoi River at Manilla using a leased water tanker.

It’s an arduous task on top of the actual droving side of things – but he says you do what you have to do.

“All the dams along here, they’re all dry – there’s only one with water in it,” Mr Lang said.

The feed at his current spot was “reasonable – a bit of green stuff and dry stuff among it... this is the only place there’s feed”.

The herd has travelled via Spring Plains, Wee Waa, Narrabri and Gunnedah, and he did three circuits between Gunnedah, Curlewis and Breeza.

“It’s just a merry-go-round,” he said.

Three months ago, he split 500 head from the herd and sold them at the Gunnedah saleyards for Rowena grazier John Hindle. 

But Mr Lang has since picked up a further 300 head for Tamworth grazier Barry Smith.

From Breeza, the mob travelled via Lake Keepit, then to Manilla – and yesterday started heading towards Barraba. 

“We’re going to have a look out on the Barraba road and see how far we can go,” Mr Lang said.

The quick storm Tamworth experienced on Monday afternoon didn’t reach Attunga, he said.

It’s been tough droving along the busier highways in our district, with two of his 12 dogs getting hit by cars.

“When we’re out in the back country it’s a lot easier,” Mr Lang said.

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