Graeme Ward explains how light-weight automated animal management equipment increase safety and efficiency.
“We continue to research and develop our products in the farming community to keep one step ahead of current farming processes”
Livestock producers often have to operate in remote locations and difficult terrain. How important is it that animal management systems are portable, flexible and easy to operate?
Graeme Ward. A successful yard system is critical to producing a low stress environment for both the stock and animal handlers. Prattley's mobile units on wheels offer the ability to move anywhere on the farm for on the spot animal management decisions. Farmers can then utilise existing fence lines, land layout, sun and wind direction to manage stock more effectively. Moving the mobile yards to stock eliminates stress and fatigue from herding and driving animals to permanent yards, this means less time off the feed and more time in the paddock putting on condition, therefore maximising stock condition and production.
In what ways can your products be deployed to increase safety and efficiency?
GW. The Prattley yarding and weighing systems are produced from high tensile alloy, which is a strong yet lightweight product used to avoid physical strain of the farm user. The yards and weighing /drafting units can be easily and safely set up and operated by one person. The design of the yard allows some movement in the yarding pen to prevent injury or crushing of animals. The Prattley Autodraft systems use sensor technology on the back gate to prevent operator error. The autodrafter incorporates exact weigh readings and automatic draft exit for maximum efficiency. While the range of Prattley Cattle Managers incorporate silent safety ratchet features and fully immobilise cattle for handling and vet inspections.
What role does technical innovation play in the development of effective animal management solutions?
GW. Incorporating technology into animal management systems increases accuracy, time management and labour input on farms. An animal's life data can now be accurately recorded and stored by a weigh indicator and analysed on a PC to give maximum returns on stock, show weight gain patterns, explore genetic/breeding dispositions and feed strategies. Technology has created the automation of manual tasks, such as drafting, meaning greater time management and lower labour input in yards.
How has your company evolved in response to the changing needs of the industry? Do you foresee any big new developments on the horizon?
GW. We have seen the need for a complete on-farm solution to manage stock and we do this through our range of yards, handlers and weighing /drafting equipment.
We continue to research and develop our products in the farming community to keep one step ahead of current farming processes. Our products have evolved through our close relationship with farmers and their needs. The major development in the foreseeable future is the introduction of mandatory electronic identification, in which all animals will need to be life tagged to provide full traceability from the farm to the fork. Prattley works in conjunction with most major tag and weigh manufacturers to achieve this.
Graeme Ward comes from a farming background, having operated his own mixed cropping and sheep farm for 25 years. He purchased Prattley industries Ltd in 1997, as an extension of his farming interests. Prattley sells high quality animal management systems both domestically in New Zealand and internationally through Prattley agents worldwide. The main export destinations include the UK, Scotland, Ireland and Australia with more recent distribution established throughout most of Europe including Estonia, Denmark and Germany.