Man's best mate put to the test
A DOG might be considered man's best friend, but out on a property a working dog is more than just a mate. A cattle dog is a musterer's right hand.
For Christian Bjelke- Petersen, his four-year-old kelpie-collie cross, Storm, is an integral and hard-working member of his team. Storm is set to compete against some of the best working dogs in the country in the upcoming 2018 Cobber Challenge.
It's considered the state of origin for farm dogs. Twelve competitors from six states have been selected.
Each dog will don a GPS tracker with the distance, speed and duration travelled during their work day, compared over a period of three weeks in August.
"Storm will wear a tracking collar and there's an app to hook it up to my phone,” Mr Bjelke-Petersen said.
"Every time Storm goes to work it will record how far she goes on an average speed over that time and how many kilometres she's working.”
It's the third year of competition with the southern states dominating the competition to date.
Mr Bjelke-Petersen, who is a contract musterer, believed the decent season in parts of Queensland would be an opportunity to turn the tables.
"A few of those southern states are suffering drought so there may not be as much cattle work,” he said.
"Whereas in precious competitions Queensland was in severe drought.”
The size of the properties will also mean tough competition for the rest of the country.
"We ride out on horses and muster cattle into the yards and then take the cattle back out,” Mr Bjelke-Petersen said.
"Sometimes it can be small mobs or one big one.”
This is the first time Mr Bjelke-Petersen has entered one of his working dogs into the competition.
"It was curiosity more than anything that got me interested,” he said.
"I have a fair idea how much work the dogs do but it will be interesting to see how many kilometres and what the outcome would be.
"It'll be really good to just get out there and see where she stacks up.”
The competition will run for three weeks from August 13 to September 2. Storm will be scored based on distance, speed and duration of work per day with points accumulated based on daily activity to determine the winner of the Cobber Challenge trophy.
You can follow her performance at www.cobberchallenge.com.au.