Journey on the road providing relief to hungry cattle

Luke Morris and Nikita Hayes, from Alice Springs, have been on the road since Boxing Day with 600 head of cattle. Photo: Peter Guthrie
Luke Morris and Nikita Hayes, from Alice Springs, have been on the road since Boxing Day with 600 head of cattle. Photo: Peter Guthrie

About 600 head of cattle from Dubbo have been on the road in the Young district this week.

Under the care of Alice Springs couple Luke Morris and Nikita Hayes and their nine dogs, the mob of mostly cows and some weaners is now trudging towards Grenfell having started at a stud on the Old Gundagai Rd on Boxing Day.

On Thursday, Luke, Nikita and the cattle were on Milvale Rd and headed north on Chillingworks Rd towards Grenfell. Luke said they're expecting to be on the road for another six to eight weeks, despite Dubbo receiving more than 60mm of rain this month.

"They had rain up at their home but it doesn't rain grass so it'll be another six or eight weeks on the road at least. The cattle have come from Warren and Dubbo area and were on the road for six weeks before we took them but they just had no feed," Luke said.

"We move just wherever the feed is. We're on a grazing permit so you might do four or five kilometres a day. In a day or two we'll be 10km out the road of Young."

Nikita said she's noticed the change in feed thanks to rainfall early this week.

"It's good here after that bit of rain, it shot up straight away," she said.

"You do get dry patches but the cattle are chasing that green pick now. It's not about making them fat. It's about keeping them alive. There's not a lot of feed on the road to make them fat but it's really nice to give them more than what they have at home."

Luke and Nikita are contract musterers and travel with a motorbike, five horses, nine dogs and sleep in swags in the back of their truck. They also carry a 37,000L water tank and trough.

"On the hot days they're drinking that dry. Luke fills about 15,000L on a cooler, wet day," Nikita said.

The Alice Springs couple spent Christmas with Luke's family in Tamworth before hitting the road with the mob on Boxing Day.

They've made themselves available for a few months before celebrating their wedding in May.

"He calls it a holiday, I don't know if I'd call it that," Nikita laughed.

"We cop a bit off a few people [motorists] out here. There's some nice people that drop a loaf of bread down and a cold beer but there's also some that don't give you the time of day," Luke added.

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