Anyone who deals with sheep for a living will know they can be the most frustrating animals to keep under control (if you’ve never lost your cool, you are a saint and we applaud you). With automation rapidly advancing, there are now machines available to farmers which are so advanced and intuitive they turn these once mind-breakingly flighty creatures into the most manageable animals you can imagine.
One of the many great machines we saw on display at the 2017 Toowoomba Farm Fest was the Clipex Sheep Handler. While there are other sheep handlers on the market, the Clipex is particularly intuitive and takes all the physical (and mental) exertion out of pretty much every interaction you need to have with your flock. With the machine’s assistance you can do:
- automatic drafting;
- ear tagging;
- and the delightful task of dagging.
Clipex have their sheep handling rigs so flawlessly sorted they’re able to draft up to 800 sheep in an hour. While this obviously equates to a sizeable saving in time (and by extension, money), it’s important not to overlook the significant impact such a machine can have on your physical and mental health. As Boorowa farmer, Jono Merriman puts it,
“You’re not as fatigued. It definitely takes out a lot of the physical side of whatever operation you’re trying to do…there’s no pushing and shoving on your body and you’re not bent over fighting sheep all day. They’re still big days in the yard but they’re also good days.”
Because the machine is automating the flow and keeping each sheep imobilised while you work with it, you’re freed up to multitask. So you can handle drenching, vaccinating and whatever else you need to do, easily, in one go. There’s also a portable model which hitches onto your tow ball and can be moved by hand—with two people—once towed as close as possible to the position you want it in.
To get the sheep handler going, you’ll need:
- 12v battery (fully charged, a 70 Ah battery will give you about 8 hours of run time);
- Air compressor (with suitable hose and female nitto quick connect fitting)
- Straight and narrow lead up race;
- Weigh scale indicators
Check out their full instructional video here: