The Gympie Times

Cattle han­dling moves into the 21st century

Tansey cou­ple on bleed­ing edge of tech

- PETER AND BEVLY HUGHES

MANY years of prac­ti­cal cattle ex­pe­ri­ence in the Tambo and Mitchell re­gion has given the new own­ers of Gowan­lock feed lot at Tansey the idea for an al­most com­pleted, re­motely op­er­ated, pneu­matic-pow­ered cattle-han­dling fa­cil­ity.

Own­ers Adrian and Jenny Buck­nell were send­ing cattle from their other prop­er­ties to feed lots but de­cided to do their own and also grow hay at Tansey.

The han­dling fa­cil­ity has a roofed area of about 400sq m that cov­ers a forc­ing pen, a semi-cir­cu­lar race and crush and load­ing ramp ac­cess.

Mr Buck­nell said that cattle han­dling in the yards had al­ways been looked on as time­con­sum­ing and they had de­signed the sys­tem to be fast and op­er­ated by two peo­ple.

“The de­sign means that cattle move qui­etly around,” he said. “They do not push each other and have am­ple room.”

Cattle are brought into a hold­ing yard, the de­sign of which is still in the fi­nal stages; a se­ries of move­able pens used for the Car­cass Clas­sic an­i­mals are pro­vid­ing a test run for po­ten­tial de­signs.

An­i­mals move into a cir­cu­lar forc­ing pen with two move­able gates that are pow­ered by large air rams. These move the cattle around, al­low­ing only one en­try and one exit point.

The exit point di­rects cattle into a stepped semi-cir­cu­lar race.

“The steps mean that the cattle do not try to move back against oth­ers while in the race,” Mr Buck­nell said. “Each step is about 150mm high and flat­tens to an area large enough for an an­i­mal to stand on.”

The load­ing ramps to each level of a dou­ble-deck truck are also stepped and this im­proves the sit­u­a­tion for cattle be­ing loaded as they can walk the steps eas­ier than an of­ten steep ramp.

A gate part­way around the semi-cir­cu­lar race al­lows ac­cess to the load­ing ramps and the crush is straight ahead with the gate open.

All as­pects of the crush are pneu­mat­i­cally pow­ered, pro­vid­ing a strong, silent clo­sure of the head bail.

Mr Buck­nell said that as well as mak­ing the reg­u­lar han­dling of the cattle eas­ier for the an­i­mals, it was also is eas­ier on the op­er­a­tors.

“Easy cattle, easy op­er­a­tors and a lot less yelling and peo­ple stress,” he said.

“Two peo­ple have no trou­ble to put through as many cattle as you want.”

For quiet han­dling there is a length of pink poly pipe that is not al­lowed to be used.

 ?? Photo: Con­trib­uted ?? HI-TECH OP­ER­A­TION: Jenny and Adrian Buck­nell in front of the nearly com­pleted state-of-the-art cattle-han­dling fa­cil­ity.
Photo: Con­trib­uted HI-TECH OP­ER­A­TION: Jenny and Adrian Buck­nell in front of the nearly com­pleted state-of-the-art cattle-han­dling fa­cil­ity.

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