Taking the handling out of sheep work

Images & Video / Corban Blampied

Taking the handling out of sheep work

Sheep work knocks you around, no question. In the drenching race, they jostle and bash into your legs, while the constant bending and twisting of dagging plays havoc with your back. It’s no surprise that farmers line up for knee and hip replacements earlier than most.

So, when Matt McKelvie had two expensive knee replacements 18 months ago, he knew it was time to find an easier, safer way to work the sheep and lambs in his yards.

matt mckelvie racewell hd4 5Matt and his family run 1800 ewes and 460 hoggets on their Wyndham property. Apart from his knees, Matt reckons one of the farm's main challenges must be the weather. Sunny days work wonders, but wind, rain, and even hail can sweep in from the Southern Ocean at any time of year in eastern Southland. It's one more reason why Matt was looking for a sheep handler to make life easier in the yards.

"I looked around at all the different sheep handlers and decided that Racewell fitted all my needs."

Matt's put about 9000 sheep through his Racewell HD4 in the past six months and couldn't be happier with its faultless performance. You wouldn't be exaggerating to say it's revolutionised sheep handling on the farm. Having a Racewell available 24/7 means that he can work the sheep to his timetable; no more waiting or shelling out big bucks for someone else to do the work. And Matt's machine is so versatile that he can crutch, drench, inoculate and draft ewes and lambs without risking any more damage to his knees.

matt mckelvie racewell hd4 4"I've noticed a huge difference in my body not getting knocked around so much by putting the ewes and lambs through the Racewell."

Racewell HD4s are easy to use, no question. With their durable, well-placed button controls and foot pedals, even Matt's twelve-year-old can crutch lambs and ewes. It makes the kids even keener to help when they can handle so much of the yard work.

The automatic drafter is another dream feature that makes life easier. "You can walk away to keep the sheep coming, work your dog or get more sheep in," says Matt, "and the machine will just keep pumping them through." He likes the automatic backing hook on the adjustable lead-up race too. Being able to close it up when you're working with smaller animals means they'll keep running on through without trying to escape or getting caught in a gap.

matt mckelvie racewell hd4 2

When you order a Te Pari machine, they don't just deliver and leave you to it. Matt's rapt with the support he received. Not only did the team install the HD4, but they schooled everyone up on all the features. They didn't leave until Matt knew how to get the best out of his sheep handler.  

"The Racewell makes life a hell of a lot easier on your body. It's very versatile at what it does; it's just a good, reliable machine."

Safety, simplicity, versatility, and reliability: four words that sum up the Racewell HD4 and the difference it's made in Matt McKelvie's farming life.



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