Brett Barnes - "Riverview" Nagambie, VIC
On the banks of the Goulburn River, Strathbogie Shire, Victoria, “Riverview” has seen significant development to improve productivity across the property. Managed by Brett Barnes, just outside the township of Nagambie, the recent infrastructure improvements have facilitated higher stocking rates and diversification into fat lamb production.
In recent times, the farm has been updated with new fencing and laneways, irrigation for fodder production, as well as new state of the art sheep yards and 3 stand shearing shed. These improvements will allow Riverview to run between 1500 to 2000 merino ewes while continuing to produce cross bred lambs with a reduction in labour input.
For Riverview, choosing ProWay to build their new sheep handling facilities was the right decision.
“It was 2017 when I first spoke to Joe Hoban at ProWay. I told him I’d looked at a few others, but everyone we spoke to had said how good ProWay were and how everything just fits. The ability to design for our site meant making a few changes was never a hassle.”
“After discussing our plans, Joe contacted me and visited the property. We sat down and looked at some plans and then finalised the yard design. Then the next thing was the shed. We wanted a shed where we could utilise the cover for both woolshed and machinery storage under the one structure with the addition of a lean to skillion to cover the yards.”
“And that’s what happened. I spoke to Joe on many occasions and on email. He was terrific. Everything was very easy, even with the shed he just organised it and everything just fitted in really well. There were no hassles.”
For Brett and their team being able to process sheep off shears undercover and out of the elements was a key requirement and really helps with productivity as work is carried out in relative comfort for sheep and operators.
“One of the main things we looked at in a shed was having enough doors for ventilation for the shearers. Everyone told me – make sure you have plenty of doors – because it can get pretty hot in the summertime. We’ve got doors and windows on every angle so we can open them up or close them if it’s too windy. The shearers are very happy working in the shed.”
The facility installation also saw Riverview introduce livestock handling equipment to further improve profitability and production.
“With the auto drafter, we wanted to be able to capture as many traits as possible. When shearing the ewes we can independently measure every fleece, so we can tag the short-wool growers to get them out of the flock. To be able to have a yard where you can draft three ways easily is a great thing. The whole drafting set up just flows. I’m really impressed with that.”
The bulk handler has also minimised bending over and fighting sheep in a race. Sheep are easily lifted to a comfortable working height for a variety of husbandry operations, including drenching, vaccinating and tagging.
“We first saw the ProWay bulk handler up at Poojinook when John Sutherland showed us his setup. Andrew, my boss, said we just have to get one. It just makes things so much easier. We’re wrapped with that, it’s a great set up. I checked in with Joe to see how we could adapt it to the design. He said to leave it with him, within the week he had options for me. That was terrific.”
“Everything needs to be about safety these days and we’ve been conscious of that. We built the woolshed with a sloping floor – it is a big advantage when dragging out. I asked the shearers and they said it was great particularly when working with big ewes. We went with the saw-tooth board design and we’re really happy with it.”
A focus on safety and efficiency across the operation has improved staff morale throughout the business.
“Everyone likes to work in good conditions. We’ve cashed in and done our research around how other operations manage stock handling and it’s paid off in this design. The old yards have gone from square pens with nothing being able to flow to a single curved bugle that feeds multiple work areas. Adding technology and comfort means everyone loves working because it’s easier. It’s not a chore.”
For Brett, when it comes to recommending ProWay to others he’s only too happy to do it.
“Certainly. I’ve been asked who did the job and I volunteer the information no problem. It was just so easy with no hassle.
“I would recommend the ProWay blokes any day. There was no stress, no hassle and no pressure.”