For Nigel and Kate Kerin of Kerin Poll Merino, Yeoval, NSW, installing quality stock handling facilities has been a fundamental investment for their merino stud and livestock trading enterprise. Nigel’s relationship with ProWay Livestock Equipment has spanned for over 17 years. Originally looking to the company for new sheep yards in 2000, Nigel has since completed a state of the art cattle handling facility utilising ProWay’s stock yard design service.
“The first set of yards that ProWay built were our sheep yards. As time has gone by, whenever we think about doing permanent yards, we use ProWay” said Nigel.
“One of the priorities in our business is for it to be an absolute pleasure for people to work in the yards, as well as myself, and I wanted it to be the place of choice for staff and contractors.”
Kerin Poll Merino Stud places a large emphasis on the maternal aspect of the Merino to drive high lambing percentages. In addition to their Merino stud, the Kerin’s also background Angus steers into feedlots and join heifers using artificial insemination to sell onto the market.
“We introduced a cattle trading arm into our business 10 years ago to reduce our reliance on sheep breeding as our core enterprise. Depending on the climate, we wanted something that we could de-stock really quickly if we needed more room to manage our sheep operation.”
With an emphasis on efficiency and ease of operation, Kerin’s cattle yards are fully autonomous, meaning, they can be worked by one handler and increase productivity to ultimately get stock back on pasture in a timely manner.
The entire working area is sheltered underneath a 25x18m roof consisting of a 20m curved V-Race, Pneumatic Rotary Block Gates as well as a 5-way Autodrafter. The working race is filled with a “bud-box” forcing pen design.
“We have for the last 10 years been using all the principals of low-stress stock handling inside the yards. We had a bud-box in our old yards and we find our throughput of cattle can be up to 300 head per hour through the autonomous draft.”
“We put a lot of thought into why we would want to go and spend money on putting an autonomous system in. If you look at the cost of building these yards, by getting animals back on grass quickly while handled in a stress-free system, they’ll actually end up paying for themselves. We also end up with a fantastic set of yards that we can work in all year round.”
“The main focus of these yards was to always have the animals coming around you, as that’s how cattle want to naturally flow.”
“Looking at the investment, there has never been a second thought put into it. I’ve never said to myself ‘I wish I never did that’ or ‘I’ve spent too much money’, it never enters your mind again once you’ve done it.”
“I just know that with skilled labour, you want them working in a proficient facility and I reckon that’s what these cattle yards are. In all the yards that I’ve looked at – as far as throughput of cattle and the way that they’re designed – they’re an absolute cracking set of yards.”