Cattle, Cattle Handling
Cattle yards that flow
Written by Aimee Johnston
Cattle, Cattle Handling
Written by Aimee Johnston
Steven Joyce farms near Dunback on the East Coast of the South Island. He runs Hereford cattle and Romney Sheep on about 600 hectares. Last year Steven upgraded his old cattle yards that weren't "cutting the mustard" to a set of new Te Pari Cattle Yards and Classic Cattle Crush.
“The reason I upgraded was because my cattle numbers were getting higher and the wooden yards I had weren’t cutting the mustard. So, I went the Te Pari way because I’ve heard a lot about them and once I got the concrete pad, which is non-slip and the big set (of cattle yards) I’ve got here they just flow so well. I should have done it 5 or 6 years ago!” said Steven.
Te Pari Cattle Yards are designed to harness natural cattle behaviour to ensure operator safety and encourage good cattle flow. Cattle have a natural tendency to circle their handler, so cattle yard designs with circular pens will allow cattle to flow better. Research shows circular yards can be up to 30% more efficient than square or rectangular yards thus allowing a much higher throughput of cattle.
“The thing I liked the most about Te Pari was they came, and they did the whole job. They didn’t just supply the yards they actually put the concrete down and built it up for you. Which is what I really liked.” Said Steven.
Te Pari has a team of experienced product consultants that can visit your farm to discuss your current and future cattle-yard requirements. Te Pari has a range of standard cattle-yard plans to choose from, or they can assist you in creating a custom yard design for your specific requirements. Following the onsite visit, they will create a realistic 3D concept of the proposed yard.
Site preparation needs careful consideration, and many modern cattle-yard systems have a significant amount of the working area concreted. This prevents the main traffic areas from getting muddy and provides a safer and cleaner working environment. Te Pari can supply and place the concrete for the site as part of the turnkey project.
“I approached them, they came with their drone, threw it up in the air and told me where the best place was for my yards and it was built in 6 weeks.” Said Steven.
As a one-man operator, cattle flow and safety were essential for Steven to be able to confidently handle cattle by himself. Steven’s Te Pari Cattle Yard design has a cattle-free working area which gives him a safe and secure area to work and store supplies. Personnel access gates are also included in Steven’s yard design to give him quick and easy access and exit from pens without the need to climb over fences.
“Safety was a big factor, with the new laws for health and safety, having the cattle free area was definitely a good point about them. The only surprise was because I went the whole concrete pad was just how well the cattle stay on their feet with the non-slip concrete it’s just great, they just don’t fall over, it’s really good.” Said Steven.
Steven chose a Classic Deluxe Cattle Crush with a vet access gate at the back. This Cattle Crush is NZ’s most popular all-rounder that makes handling cattle of all sizes so much safer and easier. In the photo above Steven is using the rear head bail control lever to open the head bail. The Classic Cattle Crush has both front and rear head bail control levers; the rear lever helps to encourage animals to move out of the crush because you are standing behind them.
The Classic Cattle Crush is available with a variety of gate options that allow access to virtually any part of the animal. Steven chose the Deluxe model that has two side gates; one for access to the top half of the animal and the sheeted lower gate can be opened for easy access to mother on calves, hoof access, and other inspection work. The gates open at the front and can be pinned together and opened together using a single latch for easy drafting.
The vet access gate is an extra compartment at the back of the crush that gives you safer access to the back of an animal. It’s great for pregnancy testing and AI work. The vet access area gives the operator about 900mm of space to work behind the animal in the crush. The bottom half of the vet access gate can be kicked open with your foot to save you from bending down to open it. This bottom half of the gate latches inside the crush to protect you from being kicked by the animal. The top half of the gate opens out so you can walk in. Take a look at this video for an in-depth look at our range of Classic Cattle Crushes >
The Classic Cattle Crush has an ‘auto-lock’ sliding gate at the back of the crush, a walk-through head bail and an anti-backing bar system. To find out more about the Classic Crush Range click here
“The crush is the first new one I’ve ever had, I’ve only had homemade ones prior to this but yeah it’s held anything I’ve put in the crush so far. The heaviest I’ve probably weighed is probably 1200kg-1300kg animal.” Said Steven.
Te Pari Cattle Crushes and Yards are all made in New Zealand using high-quality steel and then fully hot-dip galvanised after welding to ensure the best protection against corrosion. One person is all you need to operate a Te Pari steel cattle yard. Curved narrow races encourage animals to move to the front of the yard and a circular forcing gate lets you reduce the size of the forcing pen as cattle enter, eliminating the need to climb into the pen – a huge safety benefit.
“The yards work so well it’s easier just to bring them in now because I know the cattle yards are going to flow. I know there’s never going to be an issue and they come into the yards really good so it’s going to be a time saver.” Said Steven.
“If I was upgrading cattle yards, I’d definitely be buying Te Pari. They may not be the cheapest on the market, but it is the better quality. They’re a great set of yards and I’d recommend them to anyone.” Said Steven.
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