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Australian Wool Innovation Limited
Emily King
Manager, Woolgrower Education & Capacity Building
ARTICLES >> Property Case Studies

Making sheds a ‘shear delight’

Posted by Bestprac on Oct 15 2012

For all wool producers, shearing sheds are an important tool of the trade. Bestprac has spent the last month researching different shearing shed redevelopments to provide tips and learning’s to the Bestprac network.

The latest innovation case study, Making sheds a ‘shear delight’, includes two videos and two written reviews, providing different perspectives.

The first case study is from the perspective of Stuart and Ba Mitchell from Cashel Vale, Bollon QLD. Stu and Ba run approximately 10,000 Merino sheep. With the decline in the QLD sheep flock, shearers becoming harder to find and a need to bring their shed into the twenty first century, Stuart started planning his shed upgrades.

Stuart said “It was one of those things that we just had to do. It was a 50s shed that hadn’t seen any improvements or modernisations made to it up to the point that we arrived”.

“We wanted to create the best working environment we could for shearers, knowing that if we achieved this, we could improve the shed’s efficiency overall and arguably produce a better clip”.

This case study highlights the key changes that Stuart made over a number of years to re-develop his shearing shed. The key changes were:

  1. Good lighting
  2. Work space flexibility
  3. Health and safety
  4. Equipment

Download the Case Study and watch the short video below

Listen to Stuart Mitchell on a recent ABC radio story.

The second case study provides a different perspective on the same challenge; providing an efficient, safe and comfortable work environment. The difference is this case study is from the perspective of a property with two shearings per year and 40,000 sheep.

Magnus Aitken has been the property manager at Steam Plains, Conargo NSW, for six years and says that the 110 year old shed was far from efficient and also made a day’s work much harder on the shed hands. The decision was therefore made to build a new shed, tailored to meet the needs of the operation.

This case study looks at the development of a shed from scratch. “We wanted to have a shed that was functional and efficient for shearers and for us,” said Magnus.

Download the Case Study and watch the short video below


The key elements that Magnus incorporated into the new shearing shed were:

  1. Horseshoe design
  2. Utilising gravity
  3. Space
  4. Lighting
  5. Airflow
  6. Health and safety
  7. Facilities

Magnus wanted a well-functioning operation, and understood that people played a big part in achieving that goal. “By creating an enjoyable work environment, you also get the most out of people and as a result a better job at the end of the day. “Our wool handling and clip preparation is probably around 50 per cent better than what it was, and that’s enormous. The feedback we get from the people buying our wool is that the preparation is first class”.

All wool producers will benefit from reviewing these case studies, whether they are considering a shed redevelopment or a completely new shed.

Any of the elements incorporated into the sheds at Steam Plains and Cashel Vale shed can be integrated into most sheds. For example lighting is something that can be fitted into any shed; and sloping catching pens and chutes can be retrospectively fitted. 

For growers wanting to make a start on improving their sheds today with the help of AWI please see here

Last changed: Apr 03 2013



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