Pastoralist humbled by hay run support

Pastoralist humbled by hay run support

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Pastoralist and owner of Yuinmery station, David Lefroy, Sandstone, said he felt "humbled" to receive the donated fodder and thankful for the generosity of those who contributed.

Pastoralist and owner of Yuinmery station, David Lefroy, Sandstone, said he felt "humbled" to receive the donated fodder and thankful for the generosity of those who contributed.

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Having the ability to remain positive during tough times is a quality not everyone has.

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HAVING the ability to remain positive during tough times is a quality not everyone has.

You wouldn't know David Lefroy's Yuinmery station, Sandstone, had been enduring three years of drought just by looking at him.

Farm Weekly caught up with David on the recent Farmers Across Borders Meekatharra Hay Run.

Always cracking a smile and up for a chat, David's attitude to not dwell on the bad but focus on the good has served him well and it demonstrates the resilience that pastoralists are known for.

David and his wife Lana have been conservatively running a herd of about 400 Santa Gertrudis cross Droughtmaster cattle and were among the pastoralists to receive hay from the hay run.

"We are allowed to run 1300 but there is no way we'd run that many," David said.

"We're better off running less in case of dry seasons.

"Receiving this hay means we will be able to feed it out for longer and have feed at each windmill.

"They are still surviving on the bush but it will certainly help."

The property had about 50 millimetres of rainfall recently but David said follow-up rain was needed for it to really have an impact.

"There's not much shrubbery to hold the water in, it just runs off," he said.

Based on 96 years of records, their average annual rainfall is 200mm but David said there hasn't been any substantial summer or winter rain since 2016.

Many stations in the region rely on cyclones to deliver good rains but the station hasn't had substantial rain from a cyclone since 2008.

Yuinmery has been in the Lefroy family for about a century and David purchased it from his parents in 1988.

It was running sheep up until 2009, but the infiltration of wild dogs meant they had to change to cattle, which was a two to three-year process.

"We have only had minor damage to the cattle from the dogs but we have persevered with baiting, trapping and shooting," he said.

"We haven't had any camels, donkeys or horses, which has been good.

"We also got rid of goats - they were wild but we did sell a few.

"I have noticed the country has been better since we have only been running cattle."

The drought has prompted David to diversify their income with some mine work and he said it has been good having some off-farm income, but "farming is still my passion".

He worked away on the mines for some years to provide enough income to convert the property to cattle, but has been doing local mine work since 2012.

When the cattle are ready, David transports them to a small property of his at Mogumber, where they are fattened up to a good condition for sale.

Having been buying feed from as far as Esperance, David said he was touched with the kindness of Farmers Across Borders.

"I find it humbling that they are happy to donate the hay, their time and equipment for a start," he said.

"For them to do all that they have done for us, it is amazing and shows the generosity of Australians."

Between them, David and Lana have four children: Sophie, 31, Josh, 30, Kit, 20 and Sena, 19.

David and Lana always encouraged their children to gain a qualification before returning to the station, if they wanted to, but said it's unlikely they will as they have seen the difficulties of station life.

But when the time comes, the couple said they will have no regrets selling.

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