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Modular sheep delivery units in regional WA

Darkan-based RW Engineering has been working with AWI to manufacture for local WA woolgrowers modular sheep delivery units that eliminate the catch and drag, thereby helping to make shearing easier and less prone to injury.

Towards the end of 2022, AWI was announced as a recipient of a $45,000 Round 5 Regional Economic Development (RED) Grant from the WA Government to help further develop and manufacture the AWI modular sheep delivery units in regional Western Australia. With matching funding from AWI, this brought the total investment to $90,000 in 2023. 

AWI has used the funding to engage with RW Engineering, based at Darkan in the Wheatbelt region of WA, which is now manufacturing the sheep delivery units to fulfil orders from WA woolgrowers.

Sheep-delivery-modules-inline.jpg

RW Engineering’s owner Arthur Brown in the company’s workshop at Darkan in WA during the construction of the sheep delivery modules that the company is manufacturing for woolgrowers in the state. 

“The sheep delivery units provide a system that delivers sheep directly to the shearer, eliminating the time and energy that shearers spend on the catch and drag. It also minimises the chance of injury to the shearer from the dragging and twisting movements,” said AWI General Manager, Woolgrower Services, Stephen Feighan. 

“The design focuses on a ‘modular’ concept in which portable singular shearing stands can be joined together to make a multi-stand shearing platform, which can be stored away after use.  

“Each modular unit holds sheep in a race at the back of the unit. The shearer simply opens the gate and collects the sheep from the race and manoeuvres the sheep the metre or so to the centre of the board before starting shearing.” 

The potential benefits for woolgrowers and the industry of the sheep delivery unit include: 

  • increased attraction and retention of shearers to the industry 
  • decrease in shearer injuries 
  • improved productivity for workers 
  • cost effective option when upgrading infrastructure 
  • provides an avenue for multipurpose sheds. 

AWI has working with six engineering companies across the country to make the AWI design commercially available to woolgrowers (see the box below).  

Some of the companies also manufacture an ‘automatic module’ which contains a pneumatically powered delivery section that, at the press of a button, moves out from the race and then tilts the sheep into a position suitable for the shearer to then easily retrieve the animal.  

RW Engineering is a 100% WA owned and run company that has been in operation for more than 20 years. It manufactures a range of livestock handling and other equipment, using locally sourced materials. The modular sheep delivery units manufactured by RW Engineering were on show at this year’s Wagin Woolorama. 

Where do I purchase sheep delivery units?

AWI has worked with several companies across Australia that are now manufacturing a sheep delivery system based on the AWI designs, including: 

  • RW Engineering of Darkan WA are manufacturing the sheep delivery system. 08 9736 1166, www.rwengineering.com.au  
  • Commander Ag-Quip of Albany WA produces an automatic and a manual modular race delivery system. 1800 655 033, www.commanderagquip.com.au  
  • Haynes Engineering of Naracoorte SA produces an automatic and a manual modular race delivery system. 08 8762 2744, www.haynesengineering.com.au  
  • Stockpro of Condobolin NSW produces a manual modular race delivery system.1800 354 415, www.stockpro.com.au  
  • ProWay of Wagga Wagga NSW produces both fixed and modular manual race delivery systems and provide a full design and construction service incorporating the modules. 1300 655 383, www.proway.com.au  
  • Kyabram Steel of Kyabram Vic manufactures the manual modular race units. 03 5853 1554, www.kyabramsteel.com.au  

There are companies that are now manufacturing other types of sheep delivery systems, such as Perkinz (1800 750 584, www.perkinz.com.au) that produces its ShearMaster product. 

 

This article appeared in the March 2024 edition of AWI’s Beyond the Bale magazine. Reproduction of the article is encouraged. 

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