DSY Engineering managing director Shawn Graham with Bambun cattle farmer Leigh McCallum with his wife Megan and their children Lucas, Caleb and Annabelle, outside the newly installed cattle yards on the farm Leigh has jointly run with his father-in-law Steve Neville for the past four years. Picture: Rueben Hale

A Bambun farm is trialling state-of-the-art cattle yards using a so-called “Zero-Force” concept.

Leigh McCallum, who has worked with his father-in-law, Steve Neville, on the family farm for four years, said they had considered upgrading their yards for a while.

Mr McCallum said optimism in the industry, combined with a desire to increase safety and animal welfare, convinced them to make the six-figure investment 18 months ago.

The family, who run 600 Angus breeders, supplies weaners and yearlings to the local market.

“The cattle prices are best on record, but we’re getting nervous about how they’re going to hold up because they’ve been high for a long time now,” he said.

“We know in the industry, from past experiences, these things don’t last, but we remain optimistic enough to have taken the plunge into installing the new yards, which we hope will pay for themselves in the short term.”

Mr McCallum said they had also built new yards, because there had been ongoing issues with their previous set-up that could not be cheaply overcome.

“We looked at quite a few designs to try and grasp the concepts of what would be the best design for our farm,” he said.

“A local company, DSY Engineering, had a Zero-Force concept yard, which was better than anything else we’d seen, because it lowered the chance of having an accident while handling the cattle and it also offered much better animal welfare outcomes.”

“The cattle that are standing in the race are not even fidgeting. In the old yard, they’d be trying to turn in the race and jumping up on top of the animal in front.”

DSY managing director Shawn Graham said his company had designed the Zero-Force to meet the growing demand for low-stress stock-handling yards.

“The design improves safety and animal welfare by removing the force gates from the heart of the operation, which prevents the cattle from walking and turning,” he said. “This is the second lot of yards with this design we have installed, and they seem to be working even better than expected in both cases.”