Auto Drafting, Cattle, Cattle Handling

Making cattle drafting easier and faster!

By Mary Perry

Making cattle drafting easier and faster

Castletown Estate is located in Cumbria, between the Esk and Eden in the Solway Estuary. The farm within the estate spans 5000 acres, growing forages, cereals, and maize, 2,800 acres of the farm is made up of salt marsh and the other 2,200 acres are low-lying inland pastures, arable land and woodlands. They also have their own livestock, calving 200 suckler cattle, managing up to 1,000 head of cattle on the farm at any one time and 1,200 sheep. They have a variety of cattle breeds including Galloway’s, Hereford, shorthorn, Aberdeen Angus plus a few continentals.

​The cattle and the sheep are managed by a team, headed up by Farm and Estate Director, Ruari Martin. Ruari shares the passion of the estate which is to ensure environmental, economic and social sustainability when it comes to managing the farm and animals.

“We want to make sure we are socially responsible in the meat that we produce and the way that we produce it. This includes how we treat our staff, our tenants and the wider supply chain we deal with in the wider community of where we are.”

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Castletown Estate purchased a Te Pari Taurus Crush with 3-Way Auto Sorting System. This configuration can really take cattle handling to the next level by being able to handle large numbers of cattle quickly, safely, and with minimal operator input.

“We really wanted to find a system that would automate the process. Our previous handling system was mostly manual in operation and required quite a lot of labour input to get the data we needed. When we saw the Te Pari, it looked too good to be true, it ticked all the boxes that we wanted. The EID functionality, the weigh cells and the automatic drafting were all built into one system, and it just looked easy to set up on farm and implement.”

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The Taurus crush has the patented Te Pari eRail ‘dual gate’, an EID antenna that is integrated into the Taurus side gate system. As well as this the crush also has weigh cells under the floor. This then allows the weight to be taken, EID tag to be read and recorded with the weigh scales talk back to the crush to adjust the sort gates. A totally automatic operation!

“We set it to run on automatic and the process of weighing and drafting can just repeat itself over and over. This has cancelled out one member of staff from the operation if not two, saving on labour. When it comes to operating the system, it is really intuitive and straightforward. We find that the remote is useful, especially when we have a race that is between 20-30 metres long. I can be right at the back just moving cattle up to the race and still able to operate the crush from the remote.  If needs be, I can do all this operation on my own all whilst reducing the risk of injury as well.”

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The T30 scale system that is available with Te Pari products replaces guesswork with facts, giving you critical information to make decisions about feed, health treatments, herd management and more.

“The software on the tablet is easy to use with its touch screen operation. We can set the drafting groups and weight ranges easily with all the menus being very simple.”

Just one of the many benefits that this automatic system offers is the savings on labour. Being able to weigh and draft with ease means less labour requirements on the farm, and this also means less stress to the animal from human contact.  

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“There is definitely a massive labour saving with this system, we have gone from three people working most of the day when sorting cattle to being able to weigh and draft 120 head of cattle within 1.5-2 hours. It's faster and more efficient for man and beast. It’s made certainly made things easier, quicker and everyone is less tired at the end of the day!”

Te Pari’s UK team based in Perth, Scotland are on hand to support customers across the country. With Giles Devenish taking the lead, whether it is sales queries, parts or service, we have a team to look after all aspects.

“Both the UK team and New Zealand team have been fantastic. Our first port of call is Giles, the UK representative and he is on the end of the phone all the time. When it comes to parts and service, Eric is great at video calling us if we need to troubleshoot something or popping in when he is passing to check we are ok. Even when we are emailing for a response from the accounts team in New Zealand, we are getting their response back faster than we do from some English counterparts. They have been fantastic in supporting what we are doing and understanding the farm's goals as well as what we are trying to achieve and steering us into the right solutions for what we need.”

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A Te Pari system is an investment, and it has been proven that using EID readers in conjunction with an automatic sorting machine can provide financial benefit to farming operations by increasing productivity.

“I would encourage people to look into Te Pari systems and make that investment purely because of the rapid returns that we've seen from using it. The customer service is good, the products are robust and technologically advanced. They give us the information and the data that we want and need. I would say every farmer that's dealing with livestock needs a system like this! It just makes things so much easier, simpler, and faster.”

Watch the video from Rauri Martin to see the Taurus in action!