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Beyond the Bale : March 2014
FAST FACTS lThe CrutchMaster from Perkinz eliminates the catch and drag, and the bending over traditionally involved with crutching. lPerkinz claims the system has the potential to significantly increase throughput compared to over- the-board crutching, and work out cheaper per head. lTo full-crutch and wig a Merino ewe, Perkinz says a competent operator would do around 500 to 800 per day. MORE "KA-CHING" FROM CRUTCHING Traditional crutching can be an arduous and time-consuming task. So imagine if the catch and drag, and bending over the sheep could be eliminated. That's what Wayne Perkins contemplated a few years ago when he developed the award-winning CrutchMaster crutching unit. With the CrutchMaster, the ewes or lambs walk up a race onto the crutching unit at the operator's chest height from where the sheep are simply pulled/rolled over by the operator on to a waist-high board on which the animal is subdued while the crutching is performed. The operator then simply drops the spring- loaded board to quickly and safely release the animal under the crutching unit to exit before pulling out the next. Mr Perkins, now the product development manager at EB Engineering Solutions that manufactures the CrutchMaster, says there are many benefits of the system for woolgrowers and their workers, but the overarching principle behind the system is its usability and simplicity. "The workers love this system because it's easy to use and less physically demanding -- there is no bending or lifting required, the sheep are restrained quickly and easily, and the sheep's position gives good blow placement," he says. "Woolgrowers love it because it not only makes crutching easier, but it also work very closely with both existing and future users to make sure our product is reliable, simple to use so our customer can achieve maximum benefit. "It's very versatile too -- the units have a modular design meaning that they can inter-connect with each other, they are light to tow, very maneuverable and easy to set-up. In fact, any of the units can be set up in ten minutes or less. We have units that can also be used as a static, in-built system." Mr Perkins says fully-adjustable neck restraints and leg restraints on the board are designed to allow operators to do the full range of crutching types on both lambs and ewes: dagging, ring crutch, full crutch, half belly crutch, full belly crutch, flanks, front socks and eye wigs." More information: Wayne Perkins, 1800 750 584, www.perkinz.com.au has the potential to increase throughput compared to over-the-board crutching, and works out cheaper per head. It's a fast system -- it's like having someone dragging out for you. You can also crutch ewes, hoggets and lambs together without drafting which can save a lot of time. And because it requires less skill and strength to operate than traditional crutching, it could also be used by other farm staff that might not normally do crutching." Tallies depend on both the sheep and the operator, but Mr Perkins says the top tally dagging lambs is 2571 in a day and ewes is 1450 per day. To full-crutch and wig a Merino ewe, he says a competent operator would do about 500 to 800 per day. Mr Perkins says the equipment has a simple and robust construction, built by professional engineers. "We have a strong design focus and The CrutchMaster aims to make crutching easier and quicker. 35 ON-FARM March 2014 BEYOND THE BALE