What is Best Practice When Planning Custom Stockyards? - Qomicis
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custom stockyards

What is Best Practice When Planning Custom Stockyards?

Overseeing the creation of custom stockyards is far from a simple task.

While there are many success stories to outline, there are even more failures in a competitive agriculture landscape. 

Those professionals who want to do their due diligence and take away the advice of their peers will have a distinct advantage because they appreciate the obstacles that others have encountered before. 

This is an opportunity to see what are the factors to consider when planning custom stockyards, giving a framework for operators to look after their key investments and lay the groundwork for future success. 

Recognise Unique Demands for Different Stock Profiles 

Whether it is managing sheep, cattle, pigs, horses, goats or chickens, it is paramount that custom stockyards are developed with their unique demands in mind. The same principles apply for the species of these animals as the Merino sheep and Suffolk sheep will have particular behaviours and habits, much like Hereford cattle and the Red Angus. If developers attempt to create a one-size-fits-all location, they will end up with a mountain of logistical problems, creating more challenges for staff and slowing down the efficiency rate. 

Build a Winning Team 

What makes custom stockyards a success for the short and long-term? The bricks and mortar is one thing, alongside the technology and features that add depth to the location. What underpins a thriving enterprise in the agriculture sector will be the people that manage the animals on the ground. Their experience, expertise, eye for detail and capacity to think creatively under pressure separates the average facilities from the best in the business. 

Remove Obstacles & Develop for Efficiency 

If in doubt when creating stockyard frameworks, leave additional space. The issues that operators can face in this context is encountering too many elements in too confined a space, creating backlogs and interference when staff need to direct the stock into particular zones and ensure that they are manoeuvring them securely and safely. Efficiency has to be the target when introducing stock, moving them from point A to point B and removing stumbling blocks that could arise from poor product placement and travel pathways. 

Don’t Shortchange on Essential Equipment 

From shearing modules and stands to chutes, gates, panels, catchers, feeding stations, loading ramps, races and more, custom stockyards need to be fitted with the right tools for the job. It is impossible to expect that professionals can perform their duties expertly if they do not have the support infrastructure in place to carry it out. There will be legal obligations attached to these protocols and while expenditure needs to be assessed, the investment in these types of tools is paramount when developing the location from scratch. 

Invite Third Party Assessors 

Among the many challenges that owners will have with custom stockyards, it is the ability to satisfy government officials and industry regulators along the journey. Before any potential violations are identified or legislation issued, the best course of action is to invite third party assessors into the facility. What feedback can they offer? What are the current guidelines stipulating and how can the business be up to code and covered for all contingencies? 

Set Financial Goals & Budget Accordingly 

There will need to be some major costs involved from the outset, especially when developing the infrastructure on site. With this being said, the creation of custom stockyards is always optimised when there are accountants and financial experts who are on hand to establish monetary objectives and lay out a timeline for investments. From the food and utilities that are needed to power integration, paying suppliers and commercial partners to satisfying staff demands, financial projections and calculated planning has to be the foundation of the entire program. 

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