Located in Barmedman, NSW, ‘Glenmore’ is a mixed cropping and grazing enterprise run by Rupert McLaren and his family. For Rupert, installing a ProWay 6-stand sawtooth shearing board meant he was able to ensure the health and safety of all his employees as well as the contract shearers employed to shear their Merino wethers.
“The WH&S advantages of working in a shed like this over a lifetime are enormous. At the end of every day, I actually feel pretty good working in this shed as there is hardly any bending at all”.
The sawtooth shearing board was designed by ProWay to maximise safety and efficiency for shearers and wool handlers. The design is unique, because it reduces the drag for each shearer but most importantly, minimises the need to turn when dragging. Each shearer has a separate work area which reduces the chance of injury caused by shearing in confinement. It also includes a raised platform allowing wool handlers to have full access around each individual platform, which for Rupert, was something that drew him to the design and layout.
“I’m very impressed with the sawtooth arrangement. It is much easier for the shearers. Dragging straight out of the pen means that they don’t have to turn another 90 degrees…Apart from the shearers, everyone is upright the entire working day. After working on a flat floor, the raised board is an absolute joy”.
The ProWay sawtooth design was tailored to Rupert’s particular needs. After seeing the design in a pamphlet handed to him by an employee in 2016, he contacted ProWay to discuss how the shearing shed could be designed to maximise the space as well as ensure an effective flow of sheep from his old shearing shed into the new one.
“I had actually been thinking about doing something with my shearing shed for quite some time. That’s when I started to flick through the pamphlet and realised it was insane and that I should just build a new shed. It’s a lifetime investment. We can now hold over five hundred sheep in this shed with the previous shed to the south of here holding another five hundred”.
For Rupert, this investment meant safe and efficient infrastructure would be in place for his sons to take over once they were ready.
“My sons are working here in the shed which is really important to me. They represent the future of my operation and the investments we’re making now – hopefully – will help them, as well as the future generations who farm this land.”
The 6-stand shearing board includes features that maximise operation and reduce the need for excessive exertion. Each shearer has their own working shelf for combs, cutters and tool boxes. It also includes a power point. Hand rails are placed alongside the platform to protect shearers from falling as well as an electrical cut-out button in case of emergency. The pen design provides operative stock movement and efficiency when moving sheep from pen to pen. Sheeted fences are placed strategically throughout the area to promote sheep flow. The catching pens are also sloped towards the board to aid shearers dragging sheep. In Rupert’s sawtooth design, the layout pens are at 45 degrees so sheep do not enter towards the catching pen doors. But for Rupert, the number one design feature is the air conditioner, in terms of making the workplace more comfortable for himself and the team.
“I have an air-conditioner in my tractor – this is much harder work than my tractor! There is no way that I would not have an air-conditioner in the shearing shed. The shearers I’ve got, they’re a good team, but they’re big wethers. Anything that I can do to make their life a little bit easier is well worth doing”.
For Rupert and his family, installing a new shearing shed was an investment they have considered for a very long time.
“It was something that I thought long and hard about. But when you compare it to the costs within the grain industry, it’s actually extraordinarily good value. I think this is probably a one-hundred and fifty-year investment”.
“ProWay far exceeded my expectations and they did an amazing job. The build and construction ran without hiccup in a timely fashion and I would recommend ProWay to anybody who would be prepared to listen”.