New initiative creates comfort for stock as well as staff

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Hyden feedlotter Trevor Hinck.
Camera IconHyden feedlotter Trevor Hinck.

A Hyden feedlotter says the Australian Lot Feeders Association’s shade initiative has driven new research and most importantly brought valuable discussions into the realm.

Kerrigan Valley Beef feedlot principal and Australian Lot Feeders Association WA representative Trevor Hinck, who was part of the Better Beef panel session last Thursday, said the initiative had got the ball rolling.

“ALFA’s policy on shade resulted in the Meat and Livestock Australia’s funding of a new research project taking place at a Tammin feedlot,” he said.

“Shade has been a major topical discussion at this forum.”

Mr Hinck said he installed shade at his feedlot in 2017 at a capital cost of $15/head, with an expected netting replacement in 10 to 15 years.

“I cannot put any payback measurement on it other than on a hot day the cattle and staff are more comfortable,” he said. “I still get dark cutters in the summer — is it the heat, or what, I don’t know.

“It makes sense when the cattle are lying on the ground and resting, they must be putting on weight, that’s what science says.”

“Mr Hinck said when he approached the bank to finance the shade, there was some push-back, mainly because no one was installing shade in WA.

National Australia Bank regional customer executive Jeff Pontifex said attitudes had changed as lobby groups had been more involved in the conversation.

“There is now a more collective voice,” he said.

“We understand that adopting improved animal husbandry and production technology, including infrastructure, can take time and a great deal of capital.”

He said NAB would look to provide equipment loans for installation of shade consistent with ALFA’s policy.

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