And so the cattle are out munching away on fresh grass, it’s the time of year when the cattle crush or the out farm cattle crush gets some notice again. Pasture these days may be well away from the home farm and it is important to have some basic handling facilities to dose, test and load animals on site. Over the next few weeks I am going to look at some examples of yards and crushes that I see on my travels and highlight the good and the bad as we get a lot of calls to the office asking questions about yards and crushes. Often, the focus is primarily on price but it is important that you buy something useable at the end of the day. Aa well designed handling yard will be safe for you and cause the least amount of stress to man and beast. I spotted this crush near Kilmaine, Co Mayo. It had caught my eye a few times when I passed for a number of reasons:
- The gates all have tight bar spacings at the bottom so can be used for sheep and cattle.
- There are 3 pens created by good use of gates. One at the back where cattle can be either let out to the filed or put up the race. A middle pen for holding cattle. A front pen for holding cattle that have been up the cute.
- At the front of the race there is a good drafting setup that allows cattle to be sent to either of two pens, or out to the field. It is tapered out from the crush gate to allow loading of animals onto a truck or trailer.
- A man escape gate is incorporated at the back of the chute so that once animals are driven up the chute; the operator can walk the length of the race.
- There is a step along one side of the race, it does two things, provides height for the operator to work on animals in the chute and it also stops heads and feet sticking out under the lower rail of the race.
A very good design overall and well thought out, the only addition I can think of is to add a man escape gate from the back pen out to the field so that the operator can move there easily and work along the step.