A new set of cattle yards in Western Victoria is speeding up cattle work for Robert Abbott at Mt William Charolais.
The team at Mt William are passionate Charolais producers who’ve been in the business since 1969. In that year Robert’s grandfather was involved in bringing the first shipment of Charolais semen into Australia. With on-going labour shortages and increasing safety concerns in the existing yards, Robert decided to upgrade his old cattle yards to make working his cattle faster, safer, and easier.
Robert needed a yard system that was safe to operate in and also efficient. Working with Te Pari to design a system that fitted his needs was an obvious choice, he said.
“I was speaking to a client who I’d sold some semen to over in New Zealand and he’s got some Te Pari yards so he said I should speak to them. So, I sent an email, and I got a call from Almanzo Blampied from Te Pari and he said let’s have a chat about your yards and that started the process. Then we went a number of months going back and forward and getting the designs right,” Robert said.
Te Pari Cattle Yards are made from Australian steel and then fully hot-dipped galvanized after fabrication, so the yards have a superior life expectancy when compared to other alternatives.
Robert’s yard is packed full of features such as the S-Race with circular forcing pen, round drafting pen, extra wide catwalk up the race and a cattle free zone for a safe work area within the yards. Incorporating Te Pari’s flagship cattle crush, the Taurus 5-Way Auto Drafter, Robert can quite comfortably stand at the back of the race loading more cattle in while auto weighing and drafting his cattle up to five ways.
“So, we built a whole new set of yards, really state of art, we didn’t skimp on the crush, we went the top-of-the-line Taurus HD3 auto drafting crush. The yards are designed from the ground up to just basically make our life easier. Every job we’ve done in these yards since we’ve had them, I would say it’s at least cut the time in half that the jobs would normally take and some jobs that you can do in these yards you just simply wouldn’t even bother doing in our old yards, it would just be too stressful and too hard,” Robert said.
All cattle yard designs from Te Pari are designed to harness natural cattle behaviour, giving the operator the maximum safety and efficiency when working alone in the yards. Since cattle have a natural tendency to circle their handler, Te Pari yards incorporate circular pens and curved races throughout the yards which calmly draw the cattle through themselves, instead of having to push from behind, helping keep stock calm and quite while moving through the yards.
There’s no excuse for not closing gates in the yards either. All gates in a Te Pari yard feature a heavy duty 25mm spring-loaded slam latch fitted with a nylon sleeve, making them simple to close shut from either side with a push of the gate, saving you time by not having to secure chains or sliding bolts. The design of the latch also makes them very quiet to use, keeping stock calm within yards.
Usually in Australia cattle yards have their steel posts concreted into the ground to secure them however Te Pari yards are bolted to a concrete pad instead. The benefit of this is that the yard panels can be moved. If you ever want to change the layout of your yards you can simply unbolt the panels and move them to where you want, new panels can be added easily to. The Te Pari yard system is very strong and has been well proven on both Australian & New Zealand farms for many years now. The oval steel cattle rails are very strong and come with a 60-month Stockbend warranty. They are also hot dip galvanised which ensures that they have the best protection from corrosion.
“In terms of any reservations I had building the yards on a concrete slab and then dyna bolting the panels to it my question was if I’ve got a couple of 800-900kg Charolais bulls fighting in there is the structural integrity going to be there with the yards. I think we’ve proven that it is and I spoke to a number of Charolais producers in New Zealand about the product and they had Te Pari sets of yards and they said that they’d been fantastic and to date it’s been fantastic for us as well,” Robert said.
The Taurus HD3 Auto Drafter in Robert’s yards makes handling and drafting cattle easy. It was designed to help farmers reduce the amount of labour required in the yards by making it quicker and easier to weigh and draft animals. The drafting gates out the front of the crush automatically open according to the criteria you select in the scale unit – such as weight groups or any other information you have stored on the animals EID tag. The Te Pari T30 Scale System records all the data that Robert wants, and the information is automatically sent via Wifi back to the online portal so he can look at the data back in the office.
A pneumatic split sliding race gate is situated one animal back from the crush helps to regulate cattle flow. The remote control allows the operator to stand behind the cattle to encourage cattle forward while they open and close the race gate with the remote.
The control panel at the rear of the crush allows you to mount your weigh scale at an ideal height. A lockable cover fits to the front of the control panel keeping the weigh scale and control units out of the weather and secured from theft. Also included in the control panel is a storage tray for your tools, tags and belongings, and a cupboard where the air regulators, EID reader control units, battery and the like are conveniently stored out of the way. The buttons control each function of the crush in addition to the remote control.
“One of the great features of these yards is the walkway. It makes vaccinating and drenching and everything very safe and you can pass another person on it, we had four people operating there yesterday and we had no problem you know when someone was drenching, and someone was giving one needle in the other and we could just pass each other on the platform without having to get off or risk falling off.
“The man gates are great too, they provide good access through the yards and the gate systems great it all pins back, so you don’t get gates being damaged,” Robert said.
Is Auto Drafting worth the investment?
With a Taurus Auto-Drafting Crush you can process your cattle quicker and as a result will weigh more often. With a cycle time of approx. 10 seconds per animal it is realistic to weigh 300 head per hour with very little operator intervention. If you consider the cost of labour the return on investment (ROI) on an Auto-Drafting Cattle Crush is very good. Plus, you will weigh more often because it is so easy to do. This helps you manage your herd better and improve your on-farm returns.
“I can process cattle on my own in here, I can take my time and do it safely and with very little stress on the cattle. It’s like a good sheep dog you know, it’s going to save you labour units so it’s proven already to do that, and I think going forward we enjoy working in the yards more now and it’s no longer a stressful experience and with these yards someone with very little cattle experience could come in here and safely move cattle through the system and do it with ease.
“Every time I work in the yards I realise it was a great decision and the right decision to go with Te Pari to do it because of the way they conduct themselves and certainly the proof is in the product and going forward you know I think my bank manager said my kids will thank me for it because they’ll be the ones working in the yards here in the future and they’ll say thanks dad for giving us a good facility.
“Whether it’s a small upgrade to your cattle yard or crush or whether it’s a major undertaking like we did, I’d put these guys front and centre because they’ve done a fantastic job for us and we’re really grateful for how it’s all turned out and it was a bit of a leap of faith and we put our faith in these guys and it’s paid dividends,” Robert said.
Almanzo Blampied, sales coordinator for the Te Pari Australian team based in Epping, Victoria says: “We are finding more and more farmers are choosing to upgrade their cattle yards and invest in automated equipment to make their jobs easier and safer. It’s really hard to get experienced staff now and with a system like the one at Mt William Charolais you can run mobs of cattle through the yards and draft them five ways with one person, so it makes it quite easy to see the return on investment”.
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Find out more about Te Pari cattle yards at www.tepari.com or call the team on 1800-650-682.