Situated in Woorndoo, Western Victoria, Salt Creek run approximately 9,500 mixed age Merino ewes alongside the Merino Stud, producing 18-19 micron wool on an 8 month shearing calendar.
Stud owner and fine wool grower Peter Coy and farm manager Tom Wilson have completed the second stage of a state-of-the-art sheepyard and shearing shed facility which is uniquely sheltered under a continuous gable structure.
“It’s been a staged process, we started the design of the facility in mid 2017 with the yards built in late 2019 and then the wool shed completed at end of March 2020.” Said Tom.
A lot of thought and planning was put into the design and site. “We’re glad we did it the way we have because of the volume of sheep work we do. It allowed us a clean site while keeping the existing woolshed and sheepyards operational with very minimal interference.”
The original shearing shed was built by the Coy family in 1907, and was beginning to show its age after years of extensions, maintenance and add-ons. Rather than continue down this route, Tom and the owners opted to contact ProWay Livestock Equipment to design and install the cutting-edge shearing shed and sheepyard facility.
The ProWay Curved Board provides ample workspace for each shearer.
“The design and planning process with ProWay was fantastic, several different little changes were easily done, they were very accommodating and it was very timely and efficient”
The layout of the wool shed is a raised six stand Curved Board with one stand accommodating a left handed shearer. Each stand features individual recessed chutes, equipment storage areas and safety cutoff switches.
Throughout the facility Tom and Peter pushed for features that would increase safety and efficiency for shearers and shed hands.
“We’ve got Sloping Catching Pens to improve the drag for shearers and there’s ample room between each stand. The raised board reduces shed hands working over the top of each other and minimises bending to pick up a fleece. Wherever we could improve workplace safety for everyone we have.”
The pens include Slide-Swing Gates that can be opened at full capacity, with a pen layout which promotes stock flow into the front fill catching pens. Tom was particularly impressed with the penning up efficiency.
“We can have up to 1,200 sheep in the shed in under 10 minutes, which saves a lot of time and stress on animals and staff”.
The wool shed itself was stood up by Australian owned business Action Steel, who specialise in and manufacture agricultural sheds.
Penning up is a far more efficient process in Salt Creek’s new custom Shearing Shed.
The adjoining sheepyards also offer significant labour saving for Tom and his team.
“Stock flow is fantastic in the new yards, it’s a matter of swinging a few gates and we can easily bring sheep around for any husbandry operation.” The gable roof over structure allows Tom and his team to work stock in any weather conditions, 365 days a year.
“We’re protected in all conditions, whether it’s pouring rain or a 40 degree day it’s comfortable.” The yards feature a ProWay 12m Bulk Handler, Rotary Force, Classing Race, Draft and flexibility to integrate an autodrafter, crutching trailer and a variety of handlers, greatly improving their husbandry efficiency.
For Tom, the ProWay Bulk Handler was a key feature of the Salt Creek sheepyard design, “We spoke to a few people before designing these yards, and they said if you don’t put a 12m Bulk Handler in you’re mad, it’s the best thing you’ll ever do.”
“I’m so glad we have, it’s made any application to sheep so much easier and I think it’s helped retain younger staff, they enjoy the work now.”
ProWay’s Bulk Handler optimally positions 20-30 sheep in a passive position, lifting them collectively to a safe working height. “We can tick along and easily drench 3,000 sheep a day with one person on the drench gun and one mustering. It’s saved a lot of hard labour and it’s a pleasure to do stockwork, it’s not a hassle anymore.”
The new shearing shed and sheepyard facility has been designed and tailored to suit the Salt Creek operation and Tom is confident the Coy family have made a good investment.
All smiles at Salt Creek Merino Stud!
“I definitely would recommend ProWay, the service and products that they offer have been fantastic. After our first shearing, we had a shearer ring up to thank us for the facilities, you can’t get any better feedback than that”.