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Sheep Yards & Shearing Shed | 'West Diggora' | North Central Victoria

Situated 25KM outside of Elmore in Northern Victoria, ‘West Diggora’ is proudly owned & operated by the Jensen family. Owner and Manager Darryl Jensen has been spending the last two years expanding on this new venture, building up his flock which currently sits around 500 Merino X ewes. In their previous operation, the Jensen family focused on stock trading and weren’t shearing big numbers. Darryl identified early on that if they were going to continue to build up their sheep numbers toward their target of 1,200 ewes, they’d need their own shearing shed and suitable yard facilities to efficiently process, treat and of course, shear their sheep.

Darryl was familiar with ProWay equipment, having worked with it in his previous business, and had spent some time on ProWay’s YouTube channel sifting through recent video content. Ultimately, the decision to call ProWay came down to a conversation with a mate of his who had a set of ProWay yards and shearing shed. “He said if you’re going to build yourself one good set of yards, make sure you go ProWay, so I took that advice on!” As a result, Darryl contacted ProWay in a bid to revitalise his shearing facilities and design a new set of sheep yards.

Darryl touched on his old facility, “The old yards were squares, the outside of the yards weren’t too bad but trying to integrate those with new yards wasn’t going to happen so we pulled them out and started whole from scratch”. ProWay Designer Joe Hoban came down to chat about the site requirements, Darryl was really pleased with this process as he was able to discuss ideas and throw out suggestions suitable for his operation.

"They were terrific, they don't tell you this is what you want, they ask you what you want want and work with you to achieve"

After a design was finalised, ProWay Construction Manager Tim Maher advised Darryl on his site preparation and arrived to peg out the site. “On the site preparation, make sure you get that done it’s really important. I was lucky enough to have some great local blokes come out and we ended up making the far side nearly a foot higher, when I thought the ground was pretty flat” Darryl said. “We built it up so we had somewhere where we could drain water, and had some blue rock carted in to help hold the clay and loam together”.

After the site prep was complete and the yards were pegged out, trucks arrived at West Diggora and the install was under way. “It turned up on two b-double trucks and looked like a whopping great big Mecano set. We had a great contractor Gerard Maher build the yards, he was terrific to work with” Darryl said. “Scott Shegog built the shearing shed, it was actually his first ProWay Shearing Shed. That didn’t matter though, Scott had a plan to work with and eventually it all went together and you look back and think this is great, it’s terrific”. All in all, Darryl couldn’t fault his contractor’s execution.

6M ProWay Bulk Handler the standout

Darryl’s Sheep Yards feature a 6M Bulk Handler, an 8M Permanent Loading ramp with 12V winch, an Adjustable V Drafting Race with a Tumble Swing Gates and an Adjustable Working Race. In his load out race Darryl also incorporated ProWay’s Ram Breeder fence which is designed to stop bigger sheep or goats from jumping out. For Darryl, a key tool in his Sheep Yards arsenal is the ProWay Bulk Handler. The ‘Bulkie’ allows Darryl to easily treat sheep who are loaded in groups and lifted to a safe working height.

So far the ‘Bulkie’ has received glowing reviews from Darryl: “It’s the best thing ever! I tell my younger mates it’s time to put one in now, don’t wait until you’re 60”. “I just find you can work away all morning, and by lunch time you’re right to do the next job which wouldn’t of been the case if I used a long race” Darryl said.

The efficiency in which Darryl can draft and process sheep through his ProWay Sheep Yards will save him time and made sheep work easier, without compromising safety or productivity. Darryl can easily load the ‘Bulkie’ and draft sheep through his facility by himself with a couple of dogs, with wife Therese chipping in to help out from time to time: “they just flow well, and the sheep stay in the yards, you don’t have to go and chase that one who jumps over the fence”.

"You use the Bulk Handler for more than what you thought you might: the backlining of course, mouthing, needling and drenching is all done through the 'Bulkie'. By the end of the day you turn over your shoulder and they're all done!"

Customised Shearing Shed

Darryl’s Shearing Shed has been customised to suit his requirements, and was designed in consultation with his shearers. Darryl’s shearing shed features a three-stand curved raised board, Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) flooring and Sloped Catching Pens.

“I spoke to the shearers before I built the shed, and they said they were keen for a horseshoe shaped raised board” Darryl explained, “So far for the days we’ve shorn, the shearers have been really happy with it”.

Darryl touched on his Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic flooring (FRP) which has been a favourite of his: “The Fibreglass flooring is amazing stuff, you can put ewes in that are a little on a full side and the sheep shit just falls straight through, and they walk on it well and its comfortable to walk on”.

Darryl also customised his Catching Pens with an above average slope to suit his shed. The slope assists with the drag to make it easier on shearers. “Our Catching Pens were made with a slope a little higher than normal. The Contractors said they don’t notice the increased slope when he’s catching them, but he does notice the difference when he’s at a shed that doesn’t have it, which is a good rap” Darryl said.

After having spent some time working in his new ProWay yards and wool shed, Darryl has been impressed with how safe, efficient and productive his facility is, especially after mastering the ‘Bulkie’.

Darryl has a queue of mates and local producers that have been very keen to visit his facility to see how they work. “I’ve got a couple of mates that are close to having to do something with their yards, so I said I’m going to come round with a fist full of pamphlets and drop them round on your table so you can get a handle of this!”.

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