Head bails and entry doors key to fast, safe handling

Forty years ago, few farmers had large-scale stock handling facilities and there was no manufacturing in New Zealand.

In Solutions3 Minutes

FORTY YEARS AGO, few farmers had large-scale stock handling facilities and there was no manufacturing in New Zealand.

TechniPharm brought in systems from Australia and spent significant time educating farmers about handling stock in them. Most yards were designed around TB testing convenience rather than for optimum, stress-free and safe stock handling, so there was a big challenge ahead.

A few companies identified the same opportunity and several cattle yard ‘road shows’ where organised and stock handling became a drawcard section for many farmers and suppliers at field days.

Yet little progress was made in handling facility design. Most companies continued to focus on sales of steel crates rather than design for optimum handling.

Sliding gate-type head bails are still common, but these are not very effective in holding stock for jobs to be done on an animal’s head, like tagging or eye treatment. With an increased importation of China-based equipment, mostly using the same old designs, head control has not improved much either.

Technipharm’s design focus on animal science means its head bails have two key features.

First, a moon shape, rotating or V-lock design on the yokes. These fold around the animal’s neck and can be rubber-lined for an even more effective hold. This clever design creates a good 180-210-degree arm access space instead of 0 degrees with flat-face head bails. It also pushes the head further forward which also increases access.

Secondly, Technipharm head bails are locked with passive or active hydraulic or mechanical locking rams for optimum hold and silent stress-free handling.

These features have received many NZ and international awards over the years and created a substantial farmer following.

The latest design feature to Technipharm’s handlers is around entry gates. Traditionally, they are slide gates, either in one or two pieces, like an elevator door. The two-piece gates are a significant improvement on the single option.

Two-piece doors slide out to each side by 400mm so any following animal can be quickly cut off the entry to the handler.

However, slide gates need levers and connecting points which are subject to wear and tear.

Techipharm’s new Rotating Fast Entry gate has none of these limitations. It’s fast, silent and solid in operation, controlled by active hydraulics, making it the ultimate in handling stock.

Check it out at Fieldays 2023 next month at the Techipharm display inside the Main Pavilion.