As with most manufacturing industries, we’re seeing significant wait times across the board as a result of increased demand in the livestock handling facility space. A favourable economic climate, increased demand for their product and even Government initiatives has seen larger numbers of producers of varied scale making the decision to invest in custom stockyards for the future of their livestock operation.
This is a daunting undertaking for many producers, you may have committed to a new facility or upgrades, but could be unsure of where to even start. ProWay Livestock Equipment has been designing safe and efficient custom stockyards for over 20 years. After chatting to clients who’ve had projects completed recently, we identified three key trends in our client’s custom stockyards, that we believe when considered together, will achieve a solid foundation for your brand-new livestock handling facility.
1. More & more are establishing safety frameworks
Gone are the days where only big corporates had work, health and safety processes in place. Smaller, family run farms are looking to improve the safety of their facilities across the board and custom stockyards are an elegant solution. Safety frameworks vary with every operation, but as a general rule, producers are investing in making livestock handling easier on their staff and their bodies, whilst minimising the chance of serious injury to operator, transporters and the animal.
ProWay’s Designers factor safety into their custom stockyard designs, and use clever yet simple features such as manways, Sloped Catching Pens, fully Sheeted Loading Ramps, and Elevated Walkways to dramatically increase safety, reduce direct contact with animals and improve ergonomics. When designing your custom stockyard facility, ProWay’s Design Team will sit down with you and map out areas in your existing facility where you found that safety may have slipped or been overlooked to ensure it’s addressed in the custom stockyard utility. This is especially necessary when designing custom stockyards to slot in with existing infrastructure.
2. Operational efficiency is front of mind
The biggest factor influencing farmers when upgrading their stockyards or wool shed is efficiency. Older facilities tend to require double handling, have poor stock flow and are generally tough to work in. As a result, the time to complete tasks is significantly longer than when working in a well-designed set of custom stockyards.
When sitting down with ProWay’s Design Team, key improvement areas will be identified based on your current facilities shortcomings. This allows ProWay to tailor a design to suit your operational requirements. For example, key equipment such as a Sheep Bulk Handler, Rotary Force or even Pneumatic Remote Control systems may be introduced to the custom stockyard design to reduce the time it takes you to complete husbandry tasks.
By designing specified and custom stockyard facilities, ProWay’s Design Team will look to promote stock flow by reducing corners and creating a natural path for stock to move calmly through your facility. Stockyard orientation also plays a part in improving efficiency, allowing for incorporation with existing infrastructure, minimising shadows and allowing plenty of room for transporters to load safely. By choosing a custom stockyard design, you’re also saving money on required labour units, or the time it takes your workforce to process stock!
3. Profitability as a result of a balance between technology and design
The last key trend in custom stockyards has been producers looking to find that balance between incorporating technology with their new stockyard facility design. Key products like the Pneumatics Cattle Handling systems have been well received by larger scale producers who are looking to save time and process cattle more efficiently. The ProWay Pneumatics system is a technological advancement that utilises air operated gates in key areas of your facility linked to a remote control, significantly reducing the amount of moving around for the operator when completing husbandry tasks. Air operated stockyards also reduces the amount of physical labour required to work stock, is much safer and won’t compromise your stock flow gains.
ProWay’s Designers and Engineers have worked tirelessly to introduce technology to custom stockyards without over-complicating the design, stressing the animal, making them difficult to operate, or unsafe. For a lot of producers, introducing small amounts of new tech has dramatically improved efficiency, profitability and the safety for their workplace.
ProWay continually seeks to innovate on existing designs for custom stockyards, tweaking them for new clients to include new technology that will improve their stock work. A key example of this is the Sheep Bulk Handler, which has seen multiple iterations over the last few years. With over 500 units sold worldwide, the ‘Bulkie’ is a constantly improved piece of stock handling technology that has been successfully altered as the result of direct industry feedback from clients, their staff and contractors such as vets and transporters.
When planning to upgrade your facilities, it’s always beneficial to talk to like-minded and similar scale operators who’ve already had a new custom stockyard installed. When doing so, make note of new technology they’ve included, what safety aspects have been addressed and with what equipment and how their design has increased operational efficiency.