Fraser Coast farmer proof women can do anything

LOVE OF LAND: Gayle Ward enjoys her hectic days combining work on the family farm and a job in hospitality.
LOVE OF LAND: Gayle Ward enjoys her hectic days combining work on the family farm and a job in hospitality. Robyne Cuerel

EVERY day is different for Fraser Coast cattle farmer Gayle Ward.

From balancing the books to weaning cattle or feeding the horses - there's not much Mrs Ward does not do.

Her husband of 30 years, George Ward, works overseas month on, month off and it's Mrs Ward's job to keep things flowing smoothly.

"It's been an experience because I was never brought up on the land," she said.

"When I met George he was from the land, and then I just grew to love it."

When their children were growing up, the Wards traded a house block in town for eight hectares in Maryborough and 130ha at Aramara. They now have 60 head of cattle, as well as a few horses.

"It's very full on at times," Mrs Ward said.

It's been an experience, because I was never brought up on the land.

She balances looking after the animals with a job in hospitality.

"My days start off at six in the morning and I need to feed cattle and horses," Mrs Ward said.

She said her typical morning involved mixing feed for horses, feeding the cattle, mucking out the yards and moving stock.

"Then I have to get ready for work before I come home (in the afternoon) and start feeding all again after work."

Mrs Ward's devotion to her family, love of life on the land and passion for her animals keep her going, no matter how tough things get.

She said the best part of working with cattle was seeing their development. Things like seeing a skittish calf become a beautiful cow put a smile on her face.

"Probably the best part is you go down there and you find a baby calf has just been born and it's two hours old," Mrs Ward said.

"Then you go back in another two or three hours and you see it starting to stand up itself."

A recent injury, disobedient cows that get into places they should not be and bad weather has caused her the most trouble.

Mrs Ward said she believed women were sometimes better with cattle than men.

"I think sometimes they've got a softer hand around cattle," she said.

"I think there's more women out there on the land now ... it's often a financial necessity, they can't afford to pay for an offsider."

Mrs Ward said it was important women thought carefully about embarking on life on the land.

"Look at yourself and say is that what you want to do," she said.

"Look at me - I wasn't a farmer whatsoever, but I've just grown to love it."

She said it was essential country woman communicated with each other.

"Talk to other women on the land and make sure you have friends on the land," she said.

"It's very important to have that person there to ring up and ask what should I do. It's a fun life ... it's a good life."

Topics:  farming fraser coast livestock