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With forethought and planning, farmers can significantly improve the success and profitability of their livestock enterprise. Caroline Welsh (BCG Chair), Graeme Lynas (Agrifood Skills) and Dannielle McMillan (BCG livestock co-ordinator at the 2014 Sheep Management Showcase. This was a key message to come out of the second BCG Sheep Management Showcase held at Morton Plains last Thursday. According to Productive Nutrition livestock consultant San Jolly, the number one key profit driver is the enterprise manager.
Ms Jolly said other factors that underpinned the profitability of a livestock enterprise included dry matter production, weaning rates, breeding and genetics and pre and post weaning growth rates. These sentiments were reiterated during a discussion about containment areas and again when well-known livestock consultant Dr Jason Trompf spoke about reproduction, lambing and genetics.
Dr Trompf urged producers to thoroughly monitor their flocks, including pregnancy scanning. He said by doing this, producers were better placed to set targets and get a clear idea about which animals were their best performers and to adequately meet the nutritional requirements of pregnant ewes.
Research out of Western Australia has revealed that the top performing livestock producers had higher stocking rates (+7%), higher lambing percentages (+9%), higher lamb production per hectare (+16%) and were getting higher prices for their sheep at sales (+10%). But importantly, Dr Trompf said the top performers have strategic plans for seasonal variation. Other strategies included ensuring they had feed reserves on hand, having a higher proportion of crop (higher summer carrying capacity), selling surplus sheep early (before they reduce summer feed reserves) and selecting sheep that were easier to maintain live weights. A clear breeding objective, geared towards achieving a balanced high-performing sheep, was also important according to Dr Trompf. Dr Trompf’s address was well received by producers at the BCG Sheep Management Showcase, as were the presentations from Meat Livestock Australia (MLA), Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Mark Jenkinson from Sheep Pro who discussed the commercial use of EID (electronic identification) technology. Despite gale force winds battering the Sheep Management Showcase site, attendees determinedly battled the elements to witness six practical demonstrations and hear about some of the newest innovations in their industry. The BCG Sheep Management Showcase was made possible through support from Agrifood Skills Australia, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, Rural Finance, the Department of Agriculture and BCG members.
AWI's grower networks are fundamental to the spread of new ideas, continuing education and the adoption of best practice. Woolgrowers can access AWI's comprehensive, on-line shearing shed and sheep yard design guidelines that include labour-saving technologies, and productivity and work health and safety features. AWI makes yard designs and construction guidelines available to woolgrowers and yard builders to create a safe, efficient environment for workers and meet animal welfare standards. Professional shearing and wool handling staff deserve clean, comfortable and safe accommodation and amenities that at least meet the standards set by each state. Fitting out an existing shed to convert it to a shearing shed is a great way to create more shearing capacity without the cost of building a new barn.
If you don’t need the whole shed converted we can convert part of the space into a fully functional shearing facility and permanent sheep handling area. Higgins Building Contractors can custom design a layout and system that fits into your existing shed while considering sheep flow to any external yards. If required, a raised timber floor can be installed to allow for down chutes and for ease of access to the subfloor area for cleaning. Existing machinery sheds with concrete floors can also be converted so that valuable machinery is kept under cover at non-shearing times. We can supply and install a new gate and fence system that will enhance your current set-up, improving productivity and safety. We can also add a custom designed extension to your existing wool or shearing shed, either for a new shearing board and wool floor or for more sheep holding, giving you the valuable extra space you need, very economically. If you have an old unused barn or shed on your property you can save time and money by transforming it into an operational building that contributes to the profitability of your business. You can increase your capacity for shearing quickly and easily without the need or expense of a new building.

There is less disruption to you current shearing operation as the shearing can continue in your current location whilst the renovation is carried out.
If there is a disruption due to a breakdown in your existing shed or you need extra capacity, altering an old barn into a shearing shed gives you the increased workspace you need.
If your barn is not in sufficiently sound condition to be converted we can rejuvenate it and remodel where necessary to give you the right layout and conditions for your new shearing shed. At Higgins we have been restoring rural buildings, sheds and barns for many years and it is something we are very good at.
Every building is carefully surveyed to accurately assess the structural integrity and the impact of adding new doors, gates and windows.
Most sheds in fair condition can be restored and fully adapted for their new purpose as shearing sheds.
At Higgins we have the experience to consider every aspect of your new shearing facility from livestock flow to and through the shed to how the shed works in conjunction with your other working buildings. If you want to maintain the style and charm of your old barn we can also accommodate this, within the renovation. Higgins Building Contractors use only the highest quality materials, to give you the finish and wear you would expect from a working building. In some rare cases an old building is too dilapidated to be renovated, and due to structural issues cannot be safely restored. In these cases we can undertake a demolition and the removal of unwanted building materials. We will undertake full site preparation the establishment of new foundations (if required) for new buildings and sheds and design and construct a new shearing shed or any other building as required. Action take into consideration levels, heights, light, temperatures, access, yards, fit out type, etc.
Shearing Shed Renovation, or converting an existing shed into a shearing shed is a viable and sometimes more suitable alternative to building a new shed from scratch. At Higgins building Contractors we have the experience of 14 years in the renovation business to draw from and will work with you to review your current shearing set up, to understand what you need done to extend the working life of your current shed. There may be only a few minor adjustments that need to be made in order to bring your shearing shed up to standard.
If more extensive renovations are required we will work with you to ensure everything is completed to your satisfaction and your shearing shed is operating at its optimum efficiency as quickly as possible. At Higgins Building Contractors we will partner with you to give you the best possible value within the budget you have set.
Please also talk to us about the flexible finance options we can offer to help you with your cash flow.
Modern techniques and equipment have enabled stock farmers to handle greater numbers of sheep in a shorter period of time. Wear and tear and the age of equipment can impact your production and contribute to poor or unsafe working conditions. Broken equipment and waiting for parts or repair can have a serious impact on your ability to process sheep and cattle efficiently and the disruption means lost money. Poor lighting and ventilation in your old shed can also have a long-term impact, reducing motivation and increasing sick days. So, reviving your old shearing shed is a cost effective solution, improves health and safety for workers and stock and can give you long term cost benefits. Our new stockyards are purpose designed to suit you, helping to work your sheep or cattle more quickly and with greater ease and safety.
You can purchase your stock yard in one go or in stages as a part of a longer term plan, spreading the cost and allowing you to add on to the main, high density working area to suit work flow and budget.
If you are located in or near one of these areas, and need a new stockyard, stockyard improvement, expansion or renovation, Higgins Building Contractors are the company for you. If you need a new or improved Cattle or Sheep yard, you want to deal with someone you know will get it right and come in on budget.

Thoroughly survey the site and consult with you to get a deep understanding of you needs and the scope of the work. Provide a complete, accurate, two dimensional design drawing, to scale which together we will be able to use to discuss design options and edit to select the best possible outcome for your stockyard. Appraise the best direction of flow of your sheep or cattle using our combined experience and know-how. Incorporate any existing features such as sheds, trees, slopes, roads, fence lines or holding yards to make the project more COST EFFECTIVE. Advise and assist you with the financing and planning of the project, taking into consideration your preferred financing option and cash flow position. There are a range of standard features and optional extras to choose from that all contribute to giving you the perfect set up for you particular needs, delivering the safest and most efficient yard possible.
At Higgins the customer is king and we want you and your livestock to get the best out of your new stockyard. We take great pride in our workmanship and want you to be as proud of your new stockyard as we will be. All things, which she said, could be improved with long term planning, timely operations and by seeking quality advice. These included higher reproduction rates so there were more surplus sheep to sell, and consequently a faster recovery from dry years. Other options include extra gates, provision for entrance to shearing shed, roof over working area, different styles of ramps, double drenching races and the position of loading ramp. The ramp is very solid in construction and the workmanship that has gone into the ramp is extremely good, a credit to the company and their staff. This is also a great way of increasing capacity if your current shearing shed is too small. We ensure shearing sheds provide the best possible conditions for both animal and operator.
If this is the case we can have the work scheduled and complete very quickly and your old shed will be restored and looking like new. The high standard of our work means that you restoration will revive and restore your shed back to its former glory and help you to get those much needed efficiency gains. This of course means their shearing operations are more cost effective and they are ultimately more competitive. By taking advantage of our Cattle & Sheep Yard Design service you will be able to enjoy the benefits of bespoke design when incorporating existing features into a new stockyard or yard renovation. Holding Yards for sheep or cattle can also be added on using cheaper materials to conserve costs while achieving your overall objectives.
This service is particularly beneficial when incorporating existing features into a new yard design or renovation, such as sheds, barns, fence lines, trees, dips, inclines, roads, holding yards and loading facilities.
At Higgins we pride ourselves on making sure we understand everything that is required of your new stockyard.
Your new stockyard will be a safe environment for your livestock and each aspect of the yard will be designed with animal safety in mind.
Action work in close association with fit-out specialists to create the most efficient and cost effective shearing sheds. Everything is surveyed to the finest detail, taking into account, existing topography, buildings, vegetation, traffic flow, roads, stock safety and worker safety. To see more of our standard shearing shed designs, or to organise a custom design please contact us.

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shearing shed yard design layout

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