IS THIS Australia’s hardest working cattle crush?
It ain’t pretty, but the crush pictured here, located at Australian Country Choice’s Brindley Park feedlot near Roma makes a compelling case for the title, based on the site’s sheer throughput of cattle across a yearly cycle.
Feedlot manager David Breed estimates that 230,000 head of cattle passed through this crush in 2014. That’s getting close to 5000 cattle a week, which is a mind-boggling figure for any feedlot cattle processing facility.
As highlighted in this morning’s separate article “Top 25 Lotfeeders: No 7 Australian Country Choice,” the 23,000 head Brindley Park feedlot, together with ACC’s smaller 4100-head Brisbane Valley yard, were responsible for a colossal turnover of 154,800 head of yearling steers and heifers last year.
The reason is that cattle in both yards are not fed to meet a grainfed cipher requirement, but average only 55-65 days on feed, in order to meet Coles’ MSA and carcase objectives. That means very high stock turnover, by any feedlot’s standards.
Manufactured in Queensland by Warwick Cattle Crush Co, the Rustler Premier pneumatic crush pictured here was installed in July 2011. It replaced a Thompson Longhorn crush that served at the site for ten years, processing close to three million cattle over that period, Mr Breed estimated.
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Apart from its heavy-duty construction, one of the features that appealed about the Warwick CC unit when it came time to update was the vertical weigh mounts at the base of the frame, sitting above Gallagher weigh-bars, which lift the crush off the deck, making it easy to clean underneath. The yellow mounts can be clearly seen in several of the images accessible in the gallery at the base of this page. The quietness of operation of the Warwick CC unit also appealed.
Every feeder animal arriving at the feedlot goes through this crush at induction, and it sees an extra 1000 head per week or more as part of ACC’s routine check-weighing program.
Another Warwick crush is used to weighing some cattle at close-out time.
Despite its extreme heavy use, maintenance is reasonably low, with sets of rubbers being replaced occasionally, and the odd hinge or mount.
Typically there is a five-man (or woman) team working in the induction area around the crush.
With characteristic understatement for emphasis, ACC chief executive David Foote described the two ACC yards’ 6000-plus livestock movements (in and out) per week as “requiring disciplined livestock logistics programs.”
This feature is brought to you by Lallemand Animal Nutrition.