Newsletter - March 2017

Director's Brief 

By Byron Wolff

At a time when many of the country’s larger city-based manufacturing businesses are struggling to survive, Thompson Longhorn’s factory’s relatively remote location, an hour’s drive from Toowoomba and 30 kilometers from Warwick, is a key advantage. It’s difficult to keep manufacturing in Australia, but we’re based in a rural environment, we employ rural people full qualified fabricators that love rural Queensland. This ensures sustainability because we think it’s a healthy environment to work in.

While the use of technology is undoubtedly one of Thompson Longhorn’s greatest strengths, the company’s commitment to customer service and animal welfare is the driving force behind its industry-leading design and service work. All of our designs have animal welfare as one of the key criteria, because if we can keep animals comfortable and safe, and not in any sort of fear, and if we can remove the human animal interaction as much as possible, then the whole day goes a lot easier. By automating a process, you can operate with less people, but with more controlled behaviour from those people, so things are done in a more ordered and controlled way, and that places less stress on the livestock.  With the ongoing support of customers that choose to take a slightly longer view on the sustainability of Australian business, we plan to continue building world class products locally.  The quality of Australian beef is also recognised as some of the best in the world.  Forbid that the tables turn and beef also becomes available as a cheap import.   


Thompson Longhorn Factory Tours

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. 

Automate trade display at our factory

Automate 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


Livestock Sustainability

By Danielle O'Neill

As we start to gather momentum into the new year, there was an interesting article that caught my eye on sustainability. There has been more recognition of sustainability within the livestock industry as a lot more people are wanting to know how their food is produced and where it comes from.

Queensland Country Life (2017) has stated that “consensus appears widespread that the four key areas of environmental stewardship, economic resilience, people and the community and animal welfare are where Australia’s beef industry needs to focus to ensure sustainability credentials going forwards.

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With this increase of focus on sustainability in the livestock industry, it begs the question – how can producers and manufacturers alike meet some level of sustainability in their operation?

Utilising more sustainable methods to ensure that all of the product is being used is a priority in the Thompson Longhorn manufacturing process

Utilising more sustainable methods to ensure that all of the product is being used is a priority in the Thompson Longhorn manufacturing process

For Thompson Longhorn, as manufacturers of livestock handling equipment, we develop equipment that aims to increase sustainability through our ergonomic design. We try to utilise all of our materials in order to reduce waste but we also aim to ensure that all of our products increase the welfare of both the animal and the operator.

We are consistently making a conscious effort to increase sustainability in all areas of Thompson Longhorn to ensure that we have a positive effect on the industry. Whilst providing you, the producer, with Australian made and Australian standard equipment that exceeds your operational requirements.

As the livestock industry continues forward, it seems as if sustainability will become a significant factor in the production of livestock in Australia. For many producers and manufacturers there are opportunities to illustrate how cattle are produced and handled whilst meeting those ever increasing specific requirements. 

For further information about sustainability in the beef industry visit: http://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/4456345/beef-sustainability-nutted-out/?cs=4707 or www.sustainableaustralianbeef.com.au


Thompson Longhorn's Crowding Yards

By Deon Liebenberg

The crowding yard is one of the most discussed pieces of equipment when deciding what to include in your cattle processing area. Some people prefer the traditional ‘bud box’, but all of those who have used or seen the Thompson Longhorn crowding yard in action, are pleasantly surprised at the labour savings and the excellent flow of the cattle through the yard. The crowd provides both safety and efficiency for both the animals and the people handling them. This crowding yard greatly assists the operator to convince cattle to line in single file inside a narrow raceway by utilising the natural behaviour of cattle.

Pneumatic 360 degree crowding yard

Pneumatic 360 degree crowding yard

Long gone are the days when experienced stockmen used "forcing pens" and "jiggers". It has always been almost impossible to force grown animals to do anything and even a "jigger" only convinces an animal that staying stationary is not an option. Crowding yards (be they "Tubs" or specifically designed pens) all do the same thing. If they are used correctly, they simply promote the option that we want the animals to select – to go in a certain direction. They do that by using the animal’s natural behaviour, common sense and good design.

Manual 360 degree crowding yard with pneumatic entry gate

Manual 360 degree crowding yard with pneumatic entry gate

The crowding yards that Thompson Longhorn manufacture are particularly effective and this is because the design has been honed on so that the dimensions and small details maximize the likelihood that a range of cattle (different sizes and types) will flow through them more efficiently. It is not that other designs will not work, but it is like a well-designed chimney, the fire draws, it is easy to light and no smoke enters the room. If a crowding yard is poorly designed it simply becomes less and less likely the cattle will select to leave it via the single file raceway (or even perhaps enter it in the first place).

Manual 270 degree crowding yard

Manual 270 degree crowding yard

The Thompson Longhorn crowing yard is designed and manufactured to save on production costs. This is achieved through minimising the time the animal stays in the processing area and the saving in labour costs – less people are needed to operate the yard safely.

The Thompson Longhorn Core Working Centre

The Thompson Longhorn Core Working Centre


Product Design

By Simon Anderson

Products supplied by Thompson Longhorn are high quality for some very good reasons; well designed, quality materials, precise manufacture, tidy finish.
There is a lot of development and design that is done on our products before you put them to use. It all starts when a risk or inefficiency is identified in cattle yards or processes. We start thinking of how to resolve that issue or improve that process by doing quite a bit of research, talking to a wide net of contacts across the beef industry to find out how different people approach the same problem and all too often we hear the words “that’s just the way we have always done it”. This collective experience as well as our own experts’ knowledge help to develop ideas that are both safer and more efficient.

Thompson Longhorn team working on a new design

Thompson Longhorn team working on a new design

We then take these general ideas to our experienced design team who add a touch of reality by moving the design into the virtual world and trying to make the wild ideas work. Thompson Longhorn utilises SolidWorks, a powerful 3D design package, to create and test its products before any costly manufacture begins. The designs will experience numerous changes by the time they are approved and nothing is too radical to try, even if it doesn’t end up working as these ideas might lead to something else. This is also a much more efficient and cost effective method than trying to make it all work as it is being built in the workshop as there are no materials used, only time.

3D model of concept product

3D model of concept product

Once the product has been meticulously designed, material lists and drawings are created from the model. These are then used to order quality materials and build the prototype. Small design flaws that may have been overlooked are normally found and resolved during manufacture. The product then can be seen, touched and experienced and feedback supplied. Avoiding taking any short-cuts, changes or additions are made and re-tested before the product is finished and painted.

Prototype in Thompson Longhorn factory

Prototype in Thompson Longhorn factory

As this is the best that we can make without real world testing, that is what happens next. The prototype product is sent to be installed and used somewhere and close contact and support is kept with the people using it. All feedback is recorded and some further design changes may be made. Typically, these are very minor and are modified on site and are immediately tested with live animals. Once it has been through this rigorous process, the product is ready to be made and utilised by a variety of other people.

Real world testing of prototype

Real world testing of prototype

While we feel our designs are pretty fantastic, we realise that none are perfect and we are constantly looking for ways to improve. Who better to let us know of a point that we could improve than the end user? We always welcome customer feedback and idea as it helps us keep in touch with the community and ensures that our products can meet your needs.


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Posted on March 30, 2017 and filed under Newsletter.