Newsletter - December 2016

Director's Brief

by Byron Wolff

More than 2500 years ago, the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said, "change is the only constant".  The past 3 months at Thompson Longhorn has certainly proved him right!  Amongst the many new things that have taken place, the highlights include Thompson Longhorn sponsoring the 2016 Warwick Rodeo Queen, rubbing shoulders with football great & WH&S ambassador Shane Webke and a major sponsorship deal with the Warwick Campdraft and Rodeo Society.
The Warwick Rodeo Queen for 2016 is Ashleigh Grant, of whom Thompson Longhorn was very proud to be the major sponsor.  A big CONGRATULATIONS from all the team at TL!  Ashleigh has since had the opportunity to represent the Warwick Rodeo in Canada! Please visit her facebook page for all the latest.

Byron Wolff with the Warwick Rodeo Queen Ashleigh Grant and her Father Geoff Grant

Byron Wolff with the Warwick Rodeo Queen Ashleigh Grant and her Father Geoff Grant

Last month also saw Thompson Longhorn being involved in the production of a short video with WH&S ambassador Shane Webke.  The topic of discussion is ‘safe yard design’ and is now part of a new Agriculture safety awareness campaign.

Shane Webke and Byron Wolff discussing WH&S

Shane Webke and Byron Wolff discussing WH&S

October is Rodeo month in Warwick and for the first time, Thompson Longhorn became Silver Sponsors of the Warwick Rodeo and Campdraft.  The deal involved the supply of an automated cattle handling and sorting system that was extensively used to sort through over 3000hd of camp draft cattle.  The system allowed the process to take place with less volunteer labour in a shorter period of time with the safety & welfare oflivestock and operators being significantly enhanced.

Thompson Longhorn's equipment at the Warwick Rodeo and Campdraft

Thompson Longhorn's equipment at the Warwick Rodeo and Campdraft

We hope that our quarterly editions over the past year have added some value to your businesses.  We take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and a prosperous 2017.  Thanks for taking the time to read our newsletters. 


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


BeefEx 2016

By Danielle O'Neill

October, amongst other things, was Beefex month. Thompson Longhorn’s managing director, Byron Wolff and I (ag sales trainee) headed to Royal Pines for the three-day event.
Many had a keen eye on our pneumatic prototype, dual to single laneway which was designed and manufactured for Mort & Co.’s Grassdale feedlot. BeefEx offered a unique opportunity to get some constructive feedback how on we can further improve the product.

Prototype Dual to Single Laneway on display at BeefEx 2016 (Royal Pines Resort)

Prototype Dual to Single Laneway on display at BeefEx 2016 (Royal Pines Resort)

Whilst it was a busy time, it was also a time to learn and understand how the world of trade-shows and conferences work from the other side.  Through the duration of the conference there was the essence of togetherness which reflects how tight knit the agricultural really industry is.
The conference saw a positive outlook for the future of the feedlot industry, with emphasis being placed on future expansion. Many of the feedlot companies are integrating more technology with an emphasis being placed on operator safety and animal welfare.

Byron Wolff (Thompson Longhorn) & Scott Braund (Mort & Co) showing off the prototype Dual to Single Laneway

Byron Wolff (Thompson Longhorn) & Scott Braund (Mort & Co) showing off the prototype Dual to Single Laneway

It is humbling to see the positivity surrounding the outcome of the three-day conference with the knowledge of the progression that the industry is making. 


The in and outs of it

By Kelly Keong

I had an interesting conversation some time ago with one of our clients that revolved around whether to have a catwalk on the outside of the 3-metre-wide lane that leads up and feeds cattle into his crowding yard. We commonly refer to these lanes as “bugle leadup lanes” because they taper down and curve into a crowding yard. This customer was trying to justify the cost (and rightly so) but had a definite concern for staff safety as well.

This leadup lane is the transition point in most of our yard systems from outer yards to high pressure processing areas. It is probably only prudent to be in a lane as narrow as 3 metre if you are on horseback. These days to manage risk we are required to quantify likelihoods and build some rules around those risks. It is difficult not to have a safe work procedure that avoids having people in with stock in any confined space.  In any event being behind animals in a race or lane as narrow as 3 metres, is not the position that will encourage them to choose to move forward into the system anyway. A person mounted or not is probably just blocking their retreat and hoping they don’t baulk at something in front of them.

If you watch staff processing cattle at a larger feedlot it becomes quickly apparent how much time and energy is saved when the crowd yard operator can consistently feed cattle into the crowding yard. The lead up lane design is actually quite critical if you need to get the sort of efficiency most induction crews are looking for. It is not just cost against safety or convenience but also a question of better efficiency.

In this case it is easy to see that well-positioned gates that subdivide the lane and are operated either from a catwalk or remotely, greatly assist the operator to move cattle in sequence without having them run backward along the length of the lane.  It is also apparent that cattle move easily along these types of narrow lanes in response to a person on a catwalk beside them.

The shape of these lanes is also another factor that makes a crowding yard flow that little bit better. I have known for some time that the design of these lanes is a factor on gaining another bit of efficiency, but perhaps until recently I did not realise how important it actually can be. The client who helped me with this has very limited staff to work with, obviously is concerned for their safety, and needs to process cattle at his local family owned feedlot as efficiently as possible.

  Thompson Longhorn was very grateful for the feedback and the opportunity to help him add a new leadup lane with catwalk to his feedlot processing yards .


The importance of planning

By Simon Anderson

It is easy to forget how important the design of cattle yards can be. After all, it is only a few panels and gates isn't it?

This could not be much further from the truth.

The design of the yards is important and many things need to be considered.

One of the most important things to consider is the size of your yards. What good is there in having brand new yards that are too small to fit your cattle? Or so big that you get tired from chasing cattle around the pens? Getting this right will make an enormous difference to the price of the yards as well as the usability of them.

Overstocked pens at a Saleyard

Overstocked pens at a Saleyard

Another major thing to consider is the flow of cattle through the yards. This can be one of the most time consuming and dangerous mistakes that happens in many yards. You might constantly have trouble pushing cattle through that one gateway or might have to chase them backwards to then go forwards. You might even think that you could do some things faster with that big expensive bit of gear but what good will it be if you can't get a smooth flow of cattle to it? Improving the flow of cattle through the yards will reduce the stress on the animal and the handler, making the process faster and smoother. It will also improve your safety as the cattle won't feel as pressured. Ideally, you wouldn't even need to be in the same pen as the cattle to get them to go where they need to.

A Thompson Longhorn Standard Plan promotes cattle flow through the whole yards to get cattle to where they need to be with as little effort as possible.

A Thompson Longhorn Standard Plan promotes cattle flow through the whole yards to get cattle to where they need to be with as little effort as possible.

The purpose of the yard is also important. Whether you are processing weaners, breeders or enormous bullocks, the yard should allow for them. Especially in the size and quality of the equipment that you use to restrain them. If the facility was primarily used for sending cattle off to sale, it would be important to be able to sort the cattle and then load them onto a truck without having to chase them through multiple times or run them down to the other end of the yards to use a loading ramp.

Distance to move cattle is very important in large yards and feedlots

Distance to move cattle is very important in large yards and feedlots

There are many more things to consider as well.
It is worthwhile to plan out the design of your yards before you start building them. It could mean the difference between hating working in the yard and avoiding it at all costs or running the herd through just to have a good look at them. I know which I would prefer.


Quick Links


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

Posted on December 1, 2016 and filed under Newsletter.