How arrowquip facilitates easier livestock handling - Elders Rural Services

How arrowquip facilitates easier livestock handling

All of Arrowquip’s products are designed, manufactured, and sold, with the purpose of making handling animals easier, quicker, and safer.

We approach this a number of ways, from utilising what we know about animal psychology, to engineering our designs to make them as easy to use as possible. One product that specifically showcases this approach is our Bud Flow cattle forcing tub.

The Bud Flow
The Bud Flow forcing yard is a good example of how research, engineering, and design can converge to create a product that not only makes handling cattle a breeze but also makes it much safer. The Bud Flow utilises known cattle behaviour, namely the fact that cattle like to move toward the location they originated. To take advantage of that fact, the Bud Flow is designed so that cattle move into the tub, turn around inside it, and move into the race. This means that in most instances, the cattle with move through the tub and into the races smoothly without much external goading.

However, with more stubborn cattle, the Bud Flow’s crowding gate allows you to apply pressure behind the animal, moving them toward the race entry. This gate is a single rotating gate that pivots around the centre of the Bud Flow and swings towards the exit point of the tub. By operating the gate, you ‘crowd’ the cattle and move them toward the race. Cattle are large and powerful animals and can push back against the crowd gate with force, with the potential to cause injury to the handlers. Therefore, in the Arrowquip Bud Flow, we’ve also added safety features to prevent that from happening, namely the ratcheting handle, that locks against the tub as you move the gate and prevents it from being pushed back too far. These features all combine with quality manufacturing to make a product that makes cattle handling easier and safer.

Our products are made to be safe, reliable, and work well, but making livestock handling easier applies to more than just individual products. It also applies to the design and production of stockyards, as a whole. Individual components need to come together in the right ways, to make the entire yard system work seamlessly. Our Stockyard Packages Booklet is a collection of yard designs like this, that we’ve put together, which are based on science and are proven to work. The sheep stockyard packages demonstrate this approach to complete stockyard design.

Sheep Yard Design
Looking into history, there were a lot of yards which were built between the ’70-’90s which were mostly square designs with mesh fencing. These designs don’t make sheep handling easy. What we know from years of research and on-the-ground testing is that yards with bugle layout designs and that use an oval rail fence, are the best for easier, faster, and more efficient sheep handling.

To function correctly, however, the bugle layout needs to be designed correctly, and there are three design principles when designing bugles. The first principle is to make sure the sheep can see where you want them to go. It sounds very simple, but if the sheep can’t see when you are trying to move them, it is going to be hard work right from the start. The second principle is don’t make the bugle too wide. A width between 4-5 metres is ideal. This gives one person the ability to increase or decrease the flow of sheep without the need for extra men. Thirdly, the bugle yards’ capacity should be multiples of the capacity of the drenching race or the draft. This means that when you are working the sheep, the pen numbers flow into each other without having leftover sheep that can’t fit into your working area. After the drafting pens, you should always consider a laneway to remove the sheep out of the yards without interfering with the flow of sheep into the yards. This way you can keep the handling operation going while penning up and letting sheep back out to pasture.

Design principles like these are used by our team to create yard designs that are effective, efficient, and make for easier livestock handling. These yards, and the design components that make them up, have been proved to work over many years of real-world use. We use animal science and behavioural psychology to build designs that are backed by science, and we’ve proven their worth and their utility in real situations with real farmers like you.

Article written by Arrowquip for the Autumn 2021 edition of Seasons Magazine. 

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