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Four reasons you should invest in a fixed cattle handling system

Whilst a fixed cattle handling system can improve efficiency, the cost can be off-putting. However, these systems are included on the list of FETF grant funded items, meaning you could purchase one at a significantly reduced cost.

cattle handling equipment

A fixed cattle handling system is a permanent infrastructure used to manage and handle cattle in an efficient and effective manner. Many farmers will have at some point considered investing in a fixed cattle handling system to improve their operations and optimise their resources, but the planning and cost can be somewhat off putting. However, with the most recent round of the FETF grant funding, you could install a standard or bespoke fixed cattle handling system that will help manage your enterprise at a significantly reduced cost, IAE says.

Why make the investment?

Increased productivity: One of the main benefits of a fixed cattle handling system is the potential for increased productivity. With a well-designed system in place, you can streamline the handling process, reducing stress on both the cattle and the handlers. This will lead to improved cattle flow, faster sorting, and reduced time spent on various tasks such as weighing, TB testing and applying pour on treatments, ultimately resulting in higher efficiency and productivity.

A key design feature for improving the flow of cattle, IAE says, is to incorporate its 6.2m diameter forcing pen, which turns the cattle through 180 degrees so that as they move down the race, they are heading in the direction of where they came from; be that a field or housed environment. Naturally, cattle will always want to travel towards where they came from and therefore making that 180-degree part way through the handling system is a simple way to generate a consistent flow of animals.

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Improved animal welfare: Investing in a fixed cattle handling system can greatly enhance the wellbeing of the animals. The system allows for better control and handling, minimising stress and potential injuries during loading, unloading, weighing, and veterinary procedures. By providing a safe and low-stress environment, you can ensure your cattle’s health and welfare, leading to healthier animals and improved overall herd performance.

To enter the handling system, cattle must flow through two seven-rail 4,880mm x 3,195mm holding pens, that are purposely designed to hold only a small number of animals at any one time. This is because cattle in small numbers remain calmer and move better, greatly helping to mitigate any stress the animals may feel.

IAE says its new and improved system now features seven rail panels standing around the holding pens; this is to accommodate a wide range of cattle breeds, ages and sizes.

Labour cost reduction: By implementing a fixed cattle handling system, labour costs are significantly reduced. The system’s design plays to the strengths of natural cattle behaviour, making it easier for the handler to work the animals. With fewer workers needed for these operations, you can allocate your labour resources to other essential farm tasks, ultimately saving time and money.

fixed cattle handling system

To create an environment that ensures the handler’s safety is prioritised, a safe working zone runs down the centre of the system and can be fronted by a safety gate to prevent the ingress of cattle. Handlers can see and work all aspects of the system from the zone and narrow personnel gaps allow quick entry and exit to the holding pens. For visibility of cattle in the race, IAE’s new drop down platform provides a safe method of viewing the cattle.

Ease of handling: A fixed cattle handling system provides consistency and ease of handling for both the animals and the handlers. With well-defined and easily navigable races and pens, cattle can be quickly and safely moved from one area to another. This reduces the risk of injuries to both the animals and the handlers, making the entire process more efficient and less stressful for everyone involved.

Cost-effectiveness and long-term value

When considering the cost-effectiveness and long-term value of a fixed cattle handling system, it is crucial to evaluate the pros and cons. While the initial investment may seem daunting, the potential benefits of increased productivity, improved animal welfare, reduced labour costs, and ease of handling cannot be ignored.

IAE’s new and improved fixed cattle handling system is currently eligible under FETF57. For more information about its fixed cattle handling system and the variations it can offer, visit the IAE website or contact the sales team directly.

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