Home' The Murray Pioneer : February 28th 2017 Contents “RIVERLAND & MALLEE FARMER” - 23
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Leading the way with yard dogs
PINNAROO dog handler Peter Barr
was just nine years old when he
started training his first sheep
known as one of the state’s lead-
ing handlers – holding training
clinics for other handlers and
dogs across the nation, from
Darwin to Geraldton, Claremont
to the Yorke Peninsula and Eyre
Peninsula to Millicent.
Peter left school in 2010. Since
then, each year he has trained
and sold about 20 sheep dogs
a year, both kelpies and border
collies – a total so far of more
He has branched out into
running training schools.
“I did my first school back in
January last year and now have
done probably 14 schools in that
time,” Peter said.
“I’ve got another trip heading
up to Alice Springs this week and
Gippsland the fortnight after,
before going up to Claremont
again in the middle of April for six
He said his father, ‘Twisty’ Barr,
was an early influence while Neil
McDonald introduced him to run-
ning dog schools.
“Dad got me started, he point-
ed me in the right direction and
he’s done a fair bit for me,” Peter
“I started helping Neil out with
two schools and then a South
East group got together and
asked if I would do a school.”
He said a good handler
understands both livestock and
“If both are pretty easy to adapt
and they are the right dogs, within
a few months you can have a dog
that goes well,” Peter said.
“Others struggle for a few
years. It just depends on the han-
dler and the dogs.
“I try to teach people how I
start with a little pup and then go
through the steps as if I was train-
ing the dog throughout its life.
“You’ve got to try and pick the
right dog. You have to like the dog
and the dog has to like you.
“If one of you doesn’t like the
other you struggle.
“A good dog is one that is
naturally keen to cover and hold
livestock, one that’s calm in the
head and easy to handle with a
He said the demand for good
dogs was strong, and he now
teaches dogs how to deal with
cattle along with sheep – helping
cattle to be more settled and
making the work less stressful
and safer for the people involved.
Competing at yard dog com-
petitions was an easy move from
working dogs on the farm, and
Peter tasted early success.
“I started competing when I
came out of the kids section and
started competing against the
adults,” he said.
“I got my first dog up into the
open competition when I was 13.
“I like being able to win opens
and consistently have good runs.
“Being able to go out and com-
pete, I know that I should have a
good chance of doing well.
“I like to get the yard dog into
paddock work and the paddock
dogs into yard work so that I have
At the moment he has two
favourite dogs, Flash and Charger.
Flash is a border collie and
Charger a kelpie.
“They are probably my favour-
ites because they are my main
dogs and have been going fairly
well,” Peter said.
“They are only four and a half
but they are doing everything
right for me. They are good, likea-
Peter took over the Barrkel stud
operated by his parents in 2013.
He also uses his dogs to round
up wild goats out in the local
scrubs (his best haul was 112
in four days) and whatever time
he has left is spent in shearing
sheds, helping keep sheep up
to the stands. In 2006 he was
awarded Pinnaroo’s Young Citizen
of the Year – reward for a talent
he adopted early in life.
Pinnaroo dog handler
Peter Barr is forging
himself a successful
career out of running
yard dog schools.
He is pictured with
and Barrkel Peters
Peter and two
of is sheepdogs
hearding goats down
street at last year’s
Christmas parade in
Latest food directions at key industry summit in Adelaide
THE latest food ideas will be
on display at the seventh Food
South Australia Summit, New
Directions, to be held in Adelaide
on Wednesday, April 5.
The annual Food South
Australia Summit is the key food
industry conference for South
Australia, and is attended by
industry leaders in food produc-
tion and manufacturing, distrib-
utors, retailers, and key industry
stakeholders including govern-
ment, at all levels.
The line-up of speakers is
headed by one of Australia’s lead-
ing business and financial com-
mentators, Peter Switzer, who will
provide insights and information
on the latest trends and strate-
gies for the food industry.
Through the theme of New
Directions, the summit will
examine consumer attitudes
and behaviour, report the latest
trends and innovations in food,
and enable the South Australian
food industry to come together
to explore emerging challenges
and opportunities to meet the
changing needs of future eating
habits and choices.
The event will be held at the
Adelaide Oval on Wednesday,
April 5, from 8.30am.
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