Greenways farmer Luke and dog Barbie in Cobber Challenge

Twelve competitors from six states have begun the national 2018 Cobber Challenge, starting on Monday August 13, running until September 2.

This has included Greenways farmer Luke Farrell and his dog Barbie, going up against other combos from around Australia in an event billed as the state of origin for farm working dogs.

Each dog has been equipped with GPS trackers used to calculate the distance, speed and duration travelled before being compared over a period of three weeks in August.

The competitors will be scored based on these three factors of work per day with points accumulated based on daily activity, determining the winner of the Cobber Challenge trophy.

The team members’ scores will vary, with every farm across the country covering a range of different livestock, geography and production systems.

The daily results will be uploaded to the cobberchallenge.com.au website each evening.

Points are earned based on daily activity until Sunday September 2, determining the winner of the coveted Cobber Challenge trophy.

Cobber brand manager Marika O’Leary said they can’t wait to see the results begin to roll in.

“Each has something different planned for the first day of the competition – it’s all dependent on the season and what jobs need to be done within their individual farm businesses,” Ms O’Leary said. 

Ms O’Leary said more than 60 stores are running local tipping competitions.

“Everyone has their favourite – and are typically very parochial – and we’ll all be following along on the website each night just to see how our pick is tracking.”

Luke Farrell and his kelpie Barbie are quite the combo, Barbie being the Cobber Challenge's first yellow Kelpie. Barbie has been with Luke since she was a pup, often working over flat terrain in the summer and wetlands in the winter.

Barbie runs plenty within the paddock, with her favourite job being to hoover up dinner. Luke said that once Barbie is given a job, the stock becomes her number one focus.

Luke is a station hand on AJ&PA McBride Konetta station in Greenways. He runs roughly 65,000 Merinos, 10,000 prime lambs and some breeder cattle, keeping him and Barbie busy.

Luke lives by "work smart, not hard”, including working dogs as a key part his job for several years. Luke sometimes has differences with his dog in his opinion but at the end of the day, they always get the job done regardless.

Some of the previous competitors have been friends of Luke’s.

Now, he’s hoping that he and Barbie will be able to top some of their scores over the next three weeks.

Follow the live progress of all the dogs at http://www.cobberchallenge.com.au/leaderboard.