It has been a busy week for one of Australia’s most remote cattle stations.

Key points:

  • Cattle from the Tanami Desert have been trucked more than 3,000km to a new home near Dubbo, NSW 
  • It was the first time Suplejack Station sold cattle online
  • It took 18 hours to truck cattle down the Tanami Road

Suplejack Station in the Tanami Desert region of the Northern Territory trucked 18 decks of female cattle to a buyer near Dubbo in New South Wales — in a deal worth nearly $400,000.

This was not a normal sale for Suplejack, which usually targets the live export trade out of Darwin.

But a decision to sell 475 head via the online platform AuctionsPlus exposed the desert cattle to eastern states buyers looking to restock.

“We’ve never sold [cattle online] before,” said Suplejack manager Will Savage.

“But we thought we’d give it a go and thought it might help — you definitely get a lot more people looking at them [when you sell online].

Shorthorn heifers from Suplejack fetched between $2.90 and $3.26 a kilogram, whilst the Tanami-bred Brahmans fetched a little less, averaging $2.64 a kilogram. 

All up, the animals averaged about $820 each, delivered to Alice Springs.

A blue road train drives along a red dirt road.

It was a slow journey getting the cattle to Alice Springs.(

Supplied: Caddie Brain

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The long haul

The shocking condition of the Tanami Road meant it took 18 hours to truck the cattle 760 kilometres from Suplejack to Alice Springs.

Map showing cattle journey

Suplejack Station has sent 18 decks of cattle from the Tanami to Warren in NSW.(

Landline

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It was then up to the buyer to pay for the cattle to rest at yards near Alice Springs before continuing their journey onto Warren near Dubbo in NSW.

All up, it is an epic 3,000km trip, with most of the cattle completing the final leg of the journey this weekend.

The cost of freight and spelling added an extra $60 to $65 a head on top of the sale price. 

A good year ahead

Will Savage said the remote station had a decent wet season with good rainfall during December and January.

He said with the weather, along with great cattle prices, it was shaping up to be a good year. 

“It was just herd management. We wanted to get rid of some cull heifers and make room for the next lot of calves coming on.”

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a homestead in the middle of red dirt and trees.

Desert cattle trucked 3,000km to new home near Dubbo
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