Innovative design wins award for stockyard manufacturers

September 29, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 2.39.56 PM

Murray Schaefer, National Stockyard Systems and crush manufacturer Gerald Hicks receive their Henty Machine of the Year highly commended award. Photo courtesy The Land.

An extra long Australian designed crush boasting superior safety and mechanical features has been highly commended in the prestigious 2014 Henty Machine of the Year Award.

Based at Rutherford, NSW, National Stockyard Systems entered the Stabiliser Plus 200 cattle crush in the Machine of the Year award, trumping national and international tillage and spray machines valued at many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A total of 10 machines and equipment at the cutting edge of agricultural technology were judged in the Machine of the Year by an independent panel of primary producers.

Announced on Tuesday, September 23, the “farmers choice’’ award was presented to the most outstanding new piece of agricultural machinery exhibited at the field days.

Henty MOTY chairman Matt Bergmeier said the research, innovative design and superior manufacturing work of the crush impressed the judges.

The body of the Stabiliser Plus 200 crush has been extended by 200mm to facilitate pregnancy testing of large cows and bull testicle palpation without the need to have the animal’s head in the head bail.

National Stockyard Systems principal Murray Schaefer said the crush was designed to process animals efficiently with minimal labour and optimum safety.

“This is designed for the big end of town or studs where there is a lot of animal work or husbandry involved, and where scanning contractors, vets or stockmen can come in and work quickly and safely,’’ Mr Schaefer said.

“The extra length allows a bull to be the in the crush for scanning and not have its head outside of the head bail.

“The animals stand quietly, allowing the people scanning for the 12th and 13th rib eye muscle area and fat, and rump fat depth, to do the job more efficiently.

“We have recognised the need to design a crush for that reason and because we are small company, we can be flexible in our design and manufacture.

“We are not constrained by huge production runs, or with product coming in from overseas, so we can make changes on the go.’’

The crush offers a mechanical advantage of up to five to one, allowing an 80kg person to apply up to 400kg of pressure.

This combines with closing increments down to 6mm and, quick release push-pull dual operating handles on all crushes. The Stabiliser Plus 200 is built from 4mm thick RHS components.

More than five years of research, development and field testing has gone into the system

The company’s crushes have been manufactured over the past decade by Gerald Hicks, of Nana Glen, NSW.

“This is the culmination of 35 years of experience from Gerald Hicks – it is a brilliant piece of gear,’’ Mr Schaefer said.

“There has been nothing but positive feedback at Henty – we have sold two of these crushes on the first morning and will do about a dozen crushes for the field day.

“We were fairly confident coming down here as we had a really good Agquip and Tocal field days.’’

The Stabiliser Plus 200 debuted at the 2014 Australian National Field Days, receiving positive feedback and sales into large cowherds.

Mr Schaefer said winning the award at Henty was a real coup considering the technology displayed by other entrants.

“We are proud that a small Australian manufacturer can produce an article that is recognised locally,’’ he said.

“Winning this award at Henty doesn’t mean we will have a price rise – it just means we will have to make some more crushes.

“Most of the competition was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars so for machinery worth $10,000 to be recognised being innovative, practical and safe was very pleasing.’’

National Stockyard Systems were presented with the Award for Excellence at the 2011 Australian National Field Days for innovation, safety and design in sheep yards.

Mr Schaefer said the sheep yard design was the result of six years of solid research and development.

“With all of our team having a practical agricultural background, our yards are just not a series of pieces that pin together,’’ he said.

“We strive to produce a system that allows a quicker throughput of both cattle and sheep.

“Gates swing a certain way, gate openings are a certain size, rail spaces are a certain spacing, and yards are a certain size – we strive to get it right.

“Unless I can make something better than what is currently on the market, then I won’t make it.’’