New Cattle Yards For Fire Devastated Farm in Victoria
Images & Video by Corban Blampied
Images & Video by Corban Blampied
Installing a set of cattle yards might be all in a day's work for Te Pari, but sometimes they step into extraordinary situations. That's what happened when they drove up to Guys Forest, Victoria, in January 2020.
Seeing the shiny steel sheds and green grass on George and Fiona Kucka's property now, it's hard to credit the devastation that met the team's horrified gaze back then.
Because, on December 30th, 2019, Victorian bushfires rampaged over the 3000-acre farm. Three houses, sheds and fences were flattened in just five, hellish minutes.
"The conditions were the worst I've seen in my entire firefighting career," said George who's spent 25 years as a rural firefighter.
It's bad enough to lose property to a fire, but it's infinitely more distressing to lose cattle, especially at calving time. One hundred fifty heavily pregnant cows perished, and 1000 bales of silage and hay went up in smoke.
In the silent aftermath, one, lone chimney stood forlornly amidst the charred rubble of a house. Piles of warped and twisted corrugated iron sheets leaned haphazardly against buckled posts, and blackened trees swayed in the barren landscape.
"Everything was scorched; like pictures you’ve seen but so much worse. It was awful seeing the burnt houses and dead animals" says yard installer Johnny Holt, who couldn't believe the ferociousness of the blaze.
"The whole place was black and there wasn't a single blade of grass. The level of destruction was mind-boggling," adds marketing coordinator, Corban Blampied, who filmed a video with George and set up a GoFundMe page. Te Pari kicked off the fundraiser with $2000, and supporters added $10,000 more to help the Kuckas feed their remaining stock and begin to rebuild.
"I'd just like to thank everyone who's got the time and goodness to provide help to other farmers," says George. "It's an awesomely touching thing to have help given to you."
One year later, Te Pari went back to Australia to see how George and Fiona were doing. George couldn't speak highly enough of the team and his new yards.
"When someone says you're part of a family… you know what, I didn't believe them (at first) but yes, you are, definitely. The way that they helped us out; the way that they support us with everything… they've been fantastic."
Whenever George brings cattle inside, he's thrilled with the yards' performance. Whether they're weaning, pregnancy testing, drafting or weighing cattle, the animals move intuitively through the wide gates and into the pens.
The yards are quiet to use too. The slam latches aren't noisy, the gates swing silently on their nylon hinges, and the sides don't rattle.
"It's a safe, comfortable, stress-free experience for both us and the cattle."
The concrete floor means George can use the yards in any weather. There's no more mud after a downpour or dust in a drought. And when it comes to getting cattle onto a truck, he's sold on the new, stepped loading ramp.
"We were dubious to start with, but the stepped loading ramp works very nicely. It all works as advertised."
Being safe in the yards is a huge concern for George and Fiona, so they love their yards' sturdiness and durability. The walkway around the forcing area is a great feature which makes life easy when you're working or moving the cattle around.
"They're the nicest, safest set of yards I've worked, and safety is a priority."
All in all, George Kucka couldn't be happier with his cattle yards and the service he's received from the company. Even apart from their fundraising efforts, he's rapt with the design team, the performance and the back-up he receives from Te Pari.
“It’s a company that you can trust will do what they say they’ll do, and the product they sell does exactly what it’s supposed to do and does it safely. I couldn’t speak more highly of them.”