New shed a shear delight

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman
Don Boyle, right, and his son Damien Boyle, left, have built a new shearing shed to boost efficiency and work standards.
Camera IconDon Boyle, right, and his son Damien Boyle, left, have built a new shearing shed to boost efficiency and work standards. Credit: Bob Garnant

Reinvesting in the sheep and wool industry was a labour of love for Broomehill farmer Don Boyle, whose incredible journey, from starting shearing at age 13, has reaped rewards many times over.

With so much respect for his career of choice, which earned him his first farm in 1976, the 68- year-old recently designed and built his fourth woolshed, as if to give something back in total graciousness.

“My family, including sons Brendon and Damien, who are both involved in the shearing industry, have brought their own wonderful contributions to this industry, beyond my farthest dreams,” he said.

“Putting our intuitions together, we were inclined to invest in the efficiencies of wool harvesting in respect for our sheep and the woolshed staff we host.”

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The new shed, in all its glory.
Camera IconThe new shed, in all its glory. Credit: Countryman, Bob Garnant

Mr Boyle, whose family runs a flock of 11,000 Merino breeders, said a well-designed shed, with efficient sheep flow, would encourage new entrants into the wool industry and improve working conditions for shearers and wool handlers.

“Although we built our own sheds on minimum budgets, they were still major investments, which in-turn should lift the standards of shed staff to openly give back 100 per cent of their skills,” he said.

“We understand there are some WA woolsheds in need of some updating and that there is some frustration for shed staff and shearing contractors, who work in an extremely physical demanding environment.”

Brendon, who runs Boyle Shearing Contractors, said he found most of his 32 client woolgrowers were now investing in their sheds, unlike 10 years ago.

“The majority have an annual budget for improvements and I would like to see more updated shearing heads with cut-out switches for safety added to their to-do list,” he said.

Damien, who is a multi-award winning competitive shearer and takes on the May/June shearing duties during his family’s 700-bale wool harvest, said the efforts of shed staff should be reciprocal to improved working conditions.

“By giving back, their best performance is a way forward for the industry,” he said.

Damien Boyle, with his son Zac, 7, and father Don Boyle shear one of their first sheep in the new woolshed.
Camera IconDamien Boyle, with his son Zac, 7, and father Don Boyle shear one of their first sheep in the new woolshed. Credit: Bob Garnant

Don, who has 55-years of shearing know-how, said he was able to build the newest shed in 12-months for $50,000 using reasonably priced off-cut steel and his own farm-milled wood along with plenty of his family’s helping hands.

When Countryman visited the family’s Perillup farm to see the new shed, which was finished in February, Don explained the 12m by 18m structure, with its raised four-stand shearing platform, would typically cost $250,000 using outside contractors.

“I believe any sheep producer could afford the time to build their own woolshed, if they desired to follow my lead and I would be more than happy to give them helpful advice,” he said.

Don Boyle in the new woolshed.
Camera IconDon Boyle in the new woolshed. Credit: Bob Garnant

Mr Boyle, who was the 2001 Royal Agricultural Society Achiever of the Year, said high sheep and wool values were making it possible for WA farmers to reinvest in the industry

“We would enjoy having woolgrowers visit any of the sheds located at our Broomehill or Perillup farms, so they can visualise the possibilities,” he said.

WA Shearing Contractors Association president Darren Spencer said Mr Boyle was a certified- four safety shed assessor and he assisted WASCA during a period of shed inspections.

The Shearing Contractors’ Association of Australia secretary Jason Letchford said woolgrowers have a duty of care to improve the safety standards of their woolsheds.

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