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“I wish the rainfall was as reliable as my internet.” - Farming & Business Diversification

Vicki and Shane Mayne became nbn™ Sky Muster Plus converts in 2020 after years of trying to run their rural business from a mobile phone 4G hotspot connection.

Now with the fifth-generation farming family openly question why they didn’t get started sooner.

Here’s their story.


Vicki and Shane Mayne own a property called Cumalong on the Western Downs, North-West of Chinchilla.

They’re a fifth-generation farming family who have spent 80-years raising beef cattle in Queensland.

Initially, Vicki and Shane raised Santa Gertrudis cattle before moving on to Akaushi Wagyu cattle.

But like many Australian farmers, drought hit the couple hard, and they soon found themselves needing a plan B for their business.

Leaning into Vicki’s background working with horses, the couple started Hoofprints of Change. It’s an equine-assisted learning facility and a place for people to gain skills in social-emotional, personal and professional development.

What has any of this got to do with the internet?

When we spoke to Vicki earlier in 2021, she told us that she’d spent a long time procrastinating about signing up to the nbn™ Sky Muster Plus network.

The Maynes moved to Cumalong in 2014, but it was 2020 before they joined SkyMesh and started using Sky Muster Plus.

“I just wish the rainfall was as reliable as my internet service now is,” she says.

“I’ve been battling for six years and I actually wish I’d done it years ago.

“Part of a family’s experience here at Hoofprints of Change is that we capture those beautiful moments out in the arena with the horses via high-resolution photographs and I put them together in a beautiful video format.

“It used to literally take me hours in the office to do what I needed to do with my uploads, but now with Sky Muster, that happens in next to no time,” says Vicki.

Like any modern day business, Vicki and Shane rely on their internet connection to complete all the administration and marketing activities associated with the day-to-day running.

In a life before Sky Muster Plus, the couple used their mobile phones and would hotspot to meet all the internet needs. The only problem with that is it didn’t actually meet their needs.

Shane is the authentic Aussie farmer, and he doesn’t hold back when he tells us about his past internet experiences.

“I’d get so frustrated when Vicki would say ‘we’ll go online and check something out’ and it would take forever to download. I’d just feel like I’m wasting time,” says Shane.

“With SkyMesh it’s so much easier.

“Now, Vicki goes on, we bring it up, by the time I’ve made my coffee, she’s got whatever we need out so I can highly recommend it,” he says.

On the farming side of the Cumalong business, a quality internet connection is critical for holding up their end of the bargain with the National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS).

In Australia, all cattle, sheep and goats are tracked using electronic ear tags that facilitate reporting through NLIS.  This is all part of a program designed to ensure our Country’s biosecurity and food safety.

For a farm to be compliant with this system, they need to be able to:

  • tag each animal with a unique electronic identifier
  • apply a Property Identification Code (PIC) to each of their farming sites, and
  • store all the data related to animal movements in a web-accessible database.

There are a variety of technologies that farmers can use for tracking their cattle. Some people transfer data using a USB connection. Others are more high-tech and make use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

RFID-based equipment obviously needs an Internet connection.

The database at the centre of the NLIS is entirely web-based. So, even people using USB connections will need the Internet at some point.

It’s a system that’s been in place since 2005 and would not be workable without the magic of the Internet.

Ultimately, if you’re an Australian cattle farmer, you can’t do business without the Internet.

RELATED READS: How to get your farming profits moooving with Sky Muster

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Barney Lassen
Written by Barney Lassen

Originally from Oxford (UK), Barney's headed up the Marketing team since 2016. Outside of work, you might catch him down his local swimming pool or walking his very-good-girl, Macey.

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