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Beyond the Bale : December 2014
40 ON FARM Dreaming of, designing, building and finally using a brand new woolshed is a once-in-a-lifetime experience but for Michael and Angela Field at Wyvern Station, Carrathool, NSW they hope their new shed outlasts many generations. They have good reason to. The new state of the art shed and yards stand tall from the wide brown plain as a futuristic vision of the industry. For Michael, principal of TA Field Estates and one of Australia’s largest woolgrowers, the shed is a statement of confidence in the future of the fibre. “It has taken a number of years to complete and is a dream come true,” he said. “The whole exercise was very expensive but I have to say that with the returns we are getting from wool we can justify the large cost of this shed and new facilities.” Capable of holding 1800 Riverina Merino ewes in full wool (not including catching pens), the shed is a sight to behold, not to mention the sprawling steel yards (which are watered) that accompany it and new shearing quarters nearby. Angela said the exhaustive process of planning and construction took more than three years but watching it in action and hearing the positive feedback from all in the shed is a wonderful result. The state of the art construction involves a large number of innovations that make handling the sheep and their wool as easy as possible. The shed includes: • a raised sawtooth board to allow easy access for woolhandlers, maximising room for shearers • sloping catching pens, maybe not a new idea but still appreciated by shearers • extra storage space including a toolbox area for each shearer • raised ridge-cap along the entire shed to maximise ventilation • a grinding stand for every shearer • 2.1 metre clearance under the shed for ease of cleaning and access • on the south side, the doors slide open along the length of the shed to allow acces for a bobcat • massive catchment and storage of rainwater, collecting 1600 litres for every mm that lands • extra lighting at each shearing stand, minimising shadow • ShearSafe gear with automatic electric cut out • the shed deliberately faces north to allow for the most beneficial opportunities for solar energy technology. UNSKIRTED SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES COSTS The Wyvern clip is entirely unskirted with 80-85 per cent of 1200 bales sold forward on a net basis as a Fibre Direct clip, giving an eight per cent cost saving on wool handling staff and selling costs. “If we had a traditional shed here, there would be three wool tables and six to seven extra staff at more than $200 a day each. Across five weeks that cost really adds up so what we have done here is save on costs while maintaining a very high level of clip preparation. Both are essential to staying profitable,” Michael said. The Wyvern breeding ewes are crutched in March and lamb in early May for five to six weeks. As the ewes come forward for shearing their lambs are weaned and the ewes run into the shed to be shorn. Rarely do the ewes need NEW SHED AT WYVERN A new state of the art shearing shed at Wyvern Station, Carrathool, NSW, has a large number of innov ations that make handling stock and wool as easy as possible. The Wyvern clip is entirely unskirted with 80-85 per cent of 1200 bales sold forward, giving an eight per cent cost saving on wool handling staff and selling costs. Michael and Angela Field during the first shearing in the new state of the art woolshed at Wyvern Station. The new woolshed at Wyvern Station combines state of the art technology with practical knowledge of what works in woolsheds.