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Beyond the Bale : September 2019
ON FARM 61 were used to develop a prototype shearing stand complete with catching pen and let-go chute. This was trialled and refined several times before the draft plan was made available for public comment. “It’s interesting how small changes in measurement make a huge difference to your comfort as a shearer or even the area you have to work in.” Jason Wingfield Australian shearing team Further feedback was incorporated and once again trialled before being incorporated in a six-stand design which Hilton then built on his ‘Arrow Park’ property. The experts who were involved in the initial tour and who were consulted throughout the design and build process were invited back to observe and participate in the first trial shearing using all six stands. Further modifications were made as a result of this final trial before the shed was completed. THE FINALISED DESIGN The resulting design not only achieves many positive worker safety and animal welfare outcomes, but it also provides greater efficiency and improved wool quality. “This design works well for all of the team, making the whole wool harvesting process run more smoothly and safely,” said Hilton. Key features of the shed design that address the issues identified through the research include: • a sloped, front-fill catching pen which encourages sheep flow and presents sheep to the shearer • an almost straight drag to the workstation through catching pen doors designed to minimise impact on the shearer • smooth surfaces and recessed chutes that do not protrude into catching pens • wide chutes (80cm wide) with a 30cm drop off which ensures sheep are released with minimal effort • minimal travel distance from the point of shearing to the wool table and then from the wool table to the wool press • minimal light pollution from under the shed and floor grating, but with bright, diffracted overhead lighting • good ventilation with windows designed to naturally encourage airflow • timber components to minimise noise • ample room for wool storage • amenities to ensure a comfortable and safe work environment. The greater workflow efficiency achieved by the design reduces shearing time and the cost to the woolgrower. It also means sheep spend less time yarded and are turned out more quickly after shearing. “Sheep aren’t penned up for as long as they are in some traditionally designed sheds which improves animal welfare. The aim is to move them through as efficiently as possible,” said Hilton. “It's going to be a winner for the farmer and the shearer. There’s going to be less injuries and shearers are going to last longer.” Cartwright Terry Former world shearing record holder THE DESIGN IS AVAILABLE TO ALL The internal fit-out, incorporating the stands and yards, has been designed to have its own structural integrity meaning it does not rely upon the shed’s superstructure and can be built within any suitable pre-existing shell. This means woolgrowers can install or repurpose an off-the-shelf or existing shed, allowing them to achieve the most cost- effective solution for their own particular circumstances. The design of Hilton Barret’s woolshed aims to improve efficiency, worker safety, animal welfare and wool quality. The designs (technical drawings for a six- stand shearing shed, plus the floor plan for Hilton’s ‘Arrow Park’ shearing shed) are available free on the AWI website. “It does improve everything that's really a drama. It's a good sloping pen, it’s a good drag, the pens are a good size, and you don't really have to push the sheep down the chute, they sort of just fall down the chute.” Bill Hutchinson Former Australian shearing team member Woolgrowers can take the free design to specialist wool shed builders or any number of general builders to ensure a competitive tendering process for shed construction. The builder or contractor will be able to build as designed or extract certain elements of the design to suit specific on-site requirements. “The sheep are all facing away from you so you can go straight in, just grab the head and straight back out. Your handpiece is there, pick it straight up and you’re right to go. I’d just love to see this design more, throughout NSW and all over Australia.” Billy McDougall, shearer By working with all parties involved in the wool harvesting process and striking a balance between worker safety, efficiency, wool quality and animal welfare, sustainable wool harvesting now has a bright future. “The benefits are available to all of the wool industry – shearers and producers,” said Hilton. MORE INFORMATION Technical drawings of the shed, plus a video about its design, are available at www.wool.com/sheddesign
In the Shops - September 2019