A yard cover will protect your livestock and yard from the weather, allowing you to complete work efficiently, safely and comfortably all year round; shade and shelter over sheep yards provides significant benefits for you, your business, your staff and of course your livestock, not to mention the wider New Zealand livestock industry too.
If you’re still wondering if the costs outweigh the benefits of a covered yard, that’s exactly what we discuss in this article and we’re pretty sure that by the end of it, you’ll be getting in touch to talk about working undercover!
“My Sheep are dry early in the morning for shearing!”
How You Benefit
Yard covers provide a number of really significant benefits for livestock producers which is why it is a good idea to seriously consider installing one.
Firstly, you benefit from the improved working conditions Working sheltered out of the prevailing weather is much more comfortable and also reduces the risk of injury, fatigue and heat exhaustion. And because these improved working conditions also apply to your staff, this can improve your staff retention rate – particularly beneficial given the current labour shortage. Providing good working conditions promotes staff loyalty and saves you spending time and money recruiting and happy, healthy staff reduces workplace accidents and means you won’t be held up or inconvenienced by unreliable labour.
Furthermore, looking after your staff and livestock also cements your reputation as a progressive industry-leading livestock producer and you are likely to become an employer of choice. This is what we have seen in the wool industry, with shearing teams preferencing wool growers with up-to-date facilities.
Shelter can improve the welfare of the sheep and reduce production losses. Sheep without shelter need to put more energy into normal functioning and less into production. Sheep should be provided with shelter in times of above or below average temperatures.
“The sheep are out of the rain and sun when they need working on, whether it’s drenching, docking, crutching, shearing or anything else”
Other benefits for producers include:
- Helping you meet animal welfare requirements (e.g., the animal handling guidelines) and industry expectations on animal welfare which are adapting to meet consumer expectations. You can read more about safe yard design here: https://www.worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/agriculture/working-with-animals/working-with-sheep/safe-sheep-handling-gpg/#lf-doc-22552
- Higher productivity because you are not held up by muddy working areas or extreme heat. Your available working hours are also extended by being able to work rain, hail or shine and during lowlight hours. This provides you with great flexibility. You are not limited to when you can do yard work, opening up your schedule and allowing you to prioritise and perform more urgent tasks.
- Improved animal performance increases your profitability, meaning more money in your pocket.
And other advantages of a yard cover include protecting your animal yards from weather damage and allowing you to capture rainwater runoff to be used around the farm.
So, that’s some considerable benefits for you!
“Much less mud in the wet weather!”
How Your Staff Benefit
As we have already mentioned, your staff also benefit from improved working conditions.
Working undercover in the yards, particularly during inclement weather or undertaking complex or physical tasks, helps to keep them happy, healthy and safe.
Providing good working conditions helps reduce the risk of injury, and most importantly helps ensure they get home safely at the end of the day.
Like the improved working conditions for you and your staff, a yard cover will also improve animal comfort by providing a low-stress environment.
A low-stress environment combined with low-stress livestock handling means your sheep will be calm, and their energy will be channelled into weight gain and overall performance. Not only that, but calm sheep will also make your job easier and safer, too. Yet another advantage to consider.
There are really two main ways that the livestock industry benefits from investments and projects like yard covers.
“My staff are also out of the sun and rain.”
Firstly, increased labour efficiencies and improved animal performance boosts productivity and profitability, which directly contributes to the bottom line of your business. This helps establish and strengthen the fact that the livestock industry has a crucial role in the future of the country.
And the other point is that it is important for the industry to show that they are actively improving animal comfort and welfare. This is a high priority for consumers. If we want to influence consumer sentiment and public perception of the industry, it needs to be a priority for us, too.
So, in summary with a covered animal yard, everyone wins!
If you would like to take advantage of the plethora of benefits that a covered yard offers your business, just fill out a REQUEST A QUOTE to receive an accurate no-obligation quote.
Covered yards are commonly built in conjunction with new Woolsheds; however they are easily added to an existing Woolshed complex or built over existing yards.
With our range of large clear spans and lean-tos we can cover any sheep handling area quickly and economically. Wide clear spans mean minimal internal poles and therefore less interruption to pen layout and stock movement. One of our experienced sales representatives can visit your site FREE OF CHARGE to discuss your requirements.