Richard Carling, ‘Meander Lakes’ – Hadspen, TAS
Formerly known as Meander Rise, the newly established Meander Lakes in Westwood, Tasmania is currently undergoing significant redevelopment through the work of owner Richard Carling and Manager Ross Young. The property spans over 5000 acres with roughly 2,000 acres of bush country, 2,000 grazing and a further 1,000 acres of improved pastures and irrigation. The enterprise is looking to increase stocking rates and run a mixed livestock operation of composite ewes and beef cattle. For Ross and the team, the initial plan included a complete redevelopment of infrastructure to facilitate growth.
“Richard purchased the property about 12 months ago. Since then, we’ve spent a lot of money on improvements such as fencing, irrigation upgrades and livestock handling facilities. The end goal is to run 4000 composite ewes here plus some cattle.”
ProWay Livestock Equipment were contacted to design and construct a state-of-the-art shearing shed, sheep and cattle handling facility in an effort to boost safety and efficiency of the livestock enterprise. With a large shelter covering both the sheep and cattle facilities, Ross and his team can work comfortably in all weather conditions while offering extended dry storage of sheep during shearing.
Other improvements include a kitchen and lunchroom facilities, toilets and a new workshop.
“When Richard bought the place, we sat down and drew up a plan of what we wanted to do in the next five years. Ideally we’ll have this set up for a one-man operation and the ProWay facility is helping us make it a lot simpler and quicker.”
“The shed here is a fair-sized shed for Tasmania standards. The idea is to get out of the weather when we work on the animals. Out of the sun, out of the wind and out of the rain. It just makes life a lot easier.”
The combination sheep and cattle handling facility designed by ProWay stockyard designer Joe Hoban, is housed under a single gable roof structure supplied by Aussie Sheds Tasmania. The stockyards link strategically with the new shearing shed which holds approximately 400 sheep on elevated grating.
The ProWay shed fitout features a 4-stand straight board design and is constructed with a combination of pre-fabricated, galvanised framework and cypress pine joinery on-site. The board is built with return races for animal welfare purposes and to improve the count out process, while individual catching pens are sloped for shearers, making the drag easier. Each shearer has an individual large shelf to house their combs, cutters and tools.
The grating in the holding pens is a contemporary fiberglass composite that boasts high strength, longevity and noise reduction. The product is relatively new to the market and supplied by Grating Tasmania with a surface that is also non-slip and easy to clean.
Much of the yards allow multi-species management with the addition of sheep proof cattle panels and gates, increasing the overall holding capacity and flexibility of the system. The sheep yards include a custom designed ProWay “lift-swing” rotary force and curved sheeted race which leads up to a TePari Racewell Handler. Other features include a raised classing race, serpentine draft and concrete footbath.
All animals are managed through the facility for a variety of husbandry operations. EID ear tags are utilised, allowing Ross to track growth rates and progeny through the electronic scanning system, improving the overall traceability and genetic improvement on the property.
“Currently we bring the sheep in from the yards straight through to the shearing shed. They are shorn and we then take them back around the yards for weighing, drenching and electronic ear tagging. It certainly works and it works really well.”
Presently the property is running beef cattle that are back grounded for Swift’s Longford abattoirs, but as part of the 5-year plan, Ross aims to develop a breeding program.
“At the moment, the steers and heifers have come from the mainland, and we will get about 600 of them on the place in the next few weeks. It helps with the income for the business and all relates back to dollars per hectare.”
For Ross, ProWay were an integral facilitator of the final outcome and were able to customise a solution based on requirements of the operation, while taking on board ideas and concepts presented by himself and Richard.
“Obviously ProWay have got a lot of experience, and a lot of yards out in the field. They know what works and this certainly works for us.”
“I couldn’t recommend ProWay highly enough to anybody that wants to build new yards. From what I’ve seen of ProWay and their facilities, they really are a fantastic setup.”