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Mans best friend fills farm gap

QWDTA president Paul Wroe says working dogs are helping to fill the labour gap on the farm left by workers heading to the mines.
QWDTA president Paul Wroe says working dogs are helping to fill the labour gap on the farm left by workers heading to the mines.

AS more men of land leave the serenity of the paddock for lucrative mining jobs, an unlikely counterpart - the working dog - is making a strong return to fill the gap left on the farm.

The results from this year's Working Dog Sale at Ag-Grow highlight the resurgence that man's best friend is having as an amicable sidekick when it comes to working the land.

"There's no doubt about it, I've been running the Ag-Grow and Middlemount sales for eight years now and the average price hasn't stopped rising," Queensland Working Dog Trial Association president Paul Wroe said.

Mr Wroe is not one to be questioned when it comes to working dogs, being the trainer and owner of the best bitch in the country.

"Ruby just won the Australian Cattle Working Dog of the Year Award, she also won the Queensland Working Dog of the Year," he said.

"I'm not sure if they are becoming the new man on the farm, but they are definitely coming back and being used for more and more work on the land."

The highest selling dog went for $4200 at this year's Ag-Grow in a sale that saw 14 trained animals change hands.

"The average price would have been about $1700 eight years ago and now it's well over $3000. So it's pretty much doubled in that time," Mr Wroe said.

"With more people heading of to the mines, the dogs on today's farms have to do more, and I think they can do more than people think.

"You also save on a lot of the extra costs associated with hiring another person when you've got a good dog."

In line with the revival, working dog trials continue to go from strength to strength around the state.

"We used to have 15 trials a year and we're now up to 30," Mr Wroe said.

Anyone interested in working dog trials can head to qwcdtai.com.


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