Newsletter - March 2016

Director's Brief

by Byron Wolff

2016 is off to a cracking start and is shaping up to be a busy year. We have multiple projects across the saleyard, feedlot and export sectors which are already progressing out of the design phase and into manufacture with plenty more projects following soon after.

In the past few months we have expanded into New South Wales by bringing a depot online in Holbrook, a short 40 min drive North-East of Albury. Having a base in this region increases our ability to provide our quality services to a larger area. Another advantage is that we are able to take on more producer based projects, managing them and their installation from Holbrook and providing a superior customer experience to customers in southern New South Wales and Victoria.

We have also recently re-thought how all of our products are named to reflect attitude changes in the industry (social and political). The driving reason behind this change is that some of the old names that we know cattle handling equipment by are in fact inaccurate and misleading. As an industry leader, we feel that it is our responsibility to begin to redefine the way that people think about handling cattle. A prime example of this renaming is the age-old force pen. This is entirely misleading as the pen is not intended to "force" cattle anywhere. The real purpose is to restrict the available space for the cattle and persuade them to take your preferred exit. Hence why Thompson Longhorn refers to it as a crowding yard. There are many other names that are equally questionable when you sit down and think about it, eg. Crush & Race. In my opinion, it is high time the vocabulary caught up with the respect that we have for our livestock.

In this quarterly newsletter, you can learn more about what happened at the LIVExchange conference in Darwin, what is special about our curved single lanes and a continuation of the design process from previous newsletters.

I hope that you all enjoyed your Christmas break and I look forward to working with you this year.


Thompson Longhorn Factory Tours

288 Inverramsay Road, 74 kilometres from Toowoomba

288 Inverramsay Road, 74 kilometres from Toowoomba

Have you ever visited the TL factory? We welcome you to visit us to see our automated trade display and our robotic welding facility. Our factory is only a 50 minute drive from Toowoomba. Simply turn east just south of Allora at the Goomburra turnoff and 12.5 km later you will be at Thompson Longhorn.

Automated trade display at our factory

Automated trade display at our factory

Our opening hours are 8.00am until 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

An appointment is necessary for factory tours. To book an appointment please call us on (07) 4666 6174.

Thompson Longhorn, 288 Inverramsay Road, Goomburra Qld 4362


Out and About: Thompson Longhorn @ LIVExchange 2015

by Emily Dalziel

Darwin.  The Wharf Precinct.  Temperature: 35°C.  Humidity: off the scale.  A world class venue in a waterfront location. The occasion: LIVExchange conference of 2015.  Welcome to the top end of everything: Australia, live export in the Asia-Pacific region, convention centres and food.

LIVExchange is an event which occurs every two years and brings together who’s who in the live export business: from the farm gate to the wharf jetty right through to the officials and consumers at the receiving end.  Producers, exporters, welfare officers, vendors and suppliers all come together to engage in raucous discussions, informative presentations, passionate debates, and everything in-between including: morning and afternoon tea, lunch AND dinner.  (Supply your own breakfast!)

Thompson Longhorn’s Managing Director Byron Wolff made the 3000-odd km journey from the temperate climate of the Goomburra Valley to share his knowledge and experience and learn from other experts about the key issues facing Australia’s live export future.

Since the Live Export ban in 2011, there has been significant investment in the supply chain and radical improvements in animal welfare standards and management.  Australia now sets the standards for live export around the world.

Thompson Longhorn's trade stall at LIVExchange

“Thompson Longhorn has a lot to offer the live export industry.  We have the expertise and capacity to design and deliver turn-key solutions to major and minor players in the live export chain: from the paddock to the port and everyone in between.”
– Byron Wolff, Managing Director, Thompson Longhorn

Within the live export sector of the beef industry we specialise in loading and auto-draft facilities.  Currently, drafting stock for live export is done manually and is labour intensive.  Thompson Longhorn has recently helped to automate feeder yards for two major export suppliers by linking a weight based draft to an RFID scanner to create a shipping manifest.  Incrementing the draft weights in small amounts improves accuracy and enables the feeder yards to improve their acquisition rates by maintaining a larger percentage of animals within the required weight ranges.  These facilities can increase profits by providing immediate and accurate shipping manifests and loading information.

“All our equipment is designed to comply with WH&S requirements, it’s easy to use and it works exceptionally well.  At Thompson Longhorn we are all about safety, efficiency and innovation.  This is how we add value to our clients’ operations.”
 – Byron Wolff, Managing Director, Thompson Longhorn

Mr Wolff also had the chance to catch up with Professor Temple Grandin whom he first met at Kerwee Feedlot.  Mr Wolff and Ms Grandin took the opportunity to discuss various aspects of animal welfare, in particular the ‘human interaction factor’ that is the major influence in changing a situation from “new” to “threatening”.

Prof Temple Grandin (Colorado State University) (left), Byron Wolff (Thompson Longhorn) (centre) and Heather Neil (CEO, RSPCA) (right)

Reflecting on the theme of this year’s conference (People, Perspective & Relationships) Mr Wolff said, “Darwin was a great place to have the conference.  As a trade base for business with Asia, you couldn’t get much better.  There were some absolutely fabulous presentations – the three that stuck with me were from the MLA, Brasil Beef and Temple Grandin."

  1. How are research and development priorities determined?  - Sharon Dundon (MLA, Livestock Export R&D Manager)
  2. View from another country – Iain Mars (COO – Brasil Beef, Minerva Foods)
  3. Insights into animal welfare and livestock exports – Professor Temple Grandin (Colorado State University)

Download the event flyer from the MLA Event page.
Watch the presentations from the producer forum and conference.


Featured Product - Single Curved Lanes

by Kelly Keong

Single width cattle lanes have been designed into cattle yards for many years. They can lead onto transport or are used as the lead up to processing equipment and lane drafters. Sometimes, single lanes are even referred to as “crushes” because it was not so long ago that a wide range of animal husbandry task were carried out with animals packed inside a single lane (raceway). These days, at most sites, this is usually limited to back-lining and blood testing because a well-designed cattle “crush” will better restrain animals for more efficient and effective processing.

Thompson Longhorn for the most part incorporates curved single lanes into its processing area designs. It can be argued that cattle move more freely through these curved rather than straight lanes but the main and most important reason is to be found in the compact core working centre that we are able to create utilising this curved design.

Thompson Longhorn’s carefully proportioned curved single lane typically takes cattle that were indexed into single file by a crowding yard and delivers them to a cattle restrainer (crush / chute). This design feature allows us to fit an entire highly efficient system under a 15m x 18m roof structure. It is because of the curved profile that the distance from the crowding yard walkway to the side of the cattle restrainer (crush) is only a few steps. This makes it possible for a single operator to crowd cattle up to the restrainer by themselves when no other assistance is available.

Thompson Longhorn core working centre (graphic representation) featuring: 360° crowding yard, single curved lane - vee profile, Sumo restrainer/crush, 5 way pneumatic sorting system / drafter & slide gates.

Thompson Longhorn core working centre (graphic representation) featuring: 360° crowding yard, single curved lane - vee profile, Sumo restrainer/crush, 5 way pneumatic sorting system / drafter & slide gates.

All Thompson Longhorn single lanes come with a variety of standard features, one of the most important being “break-out” gates at most points along their outer curve. These gates may not be often used but it is a good insurance to be able to quickly release animals from a confined lane in the event that they fall and are unable to regain their feet. Another point of difference is that all Thompson Longhorn curved single lanes utilise rolled steel for the rails throughout the curved sections. Many other “curved lanes” are not truly curved and are instead a collection of straight panels going around a series of corners, creating potential bruising points and uneven lane width.

Single lane emergency access / break-out gates (outside of lane).

Single lane emergency access / break-out gates (outside of lane).

Single curved lanes can be manufactured in various profiles from traditional parallel sides, to a vee profile or even one that can be adjusted in width on the fly. The choice of a single lane that best fits an operation should be made on the basis of the size, shape and number of animals being handled.


Estimating with Confidence

By Chris Nielsen

How much does that cost? One of the most important and sure to be asked questions of any customer.

Continuing on from the last design article, Intelligent Yard Design, we transition from designing your yard layout into defining the cost, one of the most important aspects of any investment. Thompson Longhorn follows a highly optimised, industry leading process that goes from line based 2D layouts to final prices (better than just an estimate) in a very short time frame. This time frame can be less than a day, depending on the size of the yards.

Designed yard plan

Designed yard plan

The first step we take is defining the types and locations of all yard equipment that you want (Panels, Gates, Frames) and any handling equipment that isn’t defined (Crowding Yards, Sorting Systems, etc.). We also define all other areas including the access pathways for operators and equipment.

Defining all components

Defining all components

This information is then used to create an accurate plan view of your yards which includes every single piece of equipment. This could be tedious and time consuming, however, through the help of some in-house software, converting a set of yards from the basic line drawing layout into a comprehensive component location detail is almost completely automatic.

Component location detail

Component location detail

When we are confident that the layout is an accurate representation of the real set of yards, we then import the data into another program (Thompson Longhorn in-house software) that fundamentally converts the 2D representation of the yards into dollars and cents (although it’s a little more complicated than that). An experienced estimator then ensures material prices are up to date and everything is accounted for (eg. transport distance, local concrete prices). A short time later, an accurate cost can be presented to you that is closer to a final price than a rough estimate.

Estimation / Quotation

Estimation / Quotation

This highly accurate cost estimate can be accepted or refined to suit your budgetary goals. Due to the high quality of the generated information, there will be far fewer “surprises” during the manufacture and construction processes making Thompson Longhorn’s cost estimates some of the most accurate in the business.


Quick Links


288 Inverramsay Road, Goomburra Qld 4362, Ph: (07) 4666 6174, Fax: (07) 4666 6242www.thompsonlonghorn.com.au

Posted on March 1, 2016 and filed under Newsletter.