In what is regarded as a game changer to animal welfare, the newly-released Spin-a-Calf crate was warmly received by cattle producers in the livestock display section at FarmFest.
Spin-a -calf is the brain child of Gerald Hicks and his son David of Offsider Agricultural Equipment, Toowoomba.
Mr Hicks is a former wheat and sheep producer who moved from Western Australia many years ago to Guyra, NSW. He started a cattle product business, eventually selling to Metalcorp Steel in 1994.
Now working with his son David, Mr Hicks brings more than 40 years of fabrication engineering to Offsider Ag Equipment, while son David is an experienced contract harvester, a cattle handler, and a qualified and experienced civil engineer.
Their Spin-a-Calf crate allows producers to brand, tag and mark calves in maximum safety, while also being workplace health and safety compliant.
"The beauty about this crate is the operator does not need to get in with the calf," Mr Hicks said.
"It is ideal for those producers who have to work with backpackers.
"You don't need experienced ringers which are hard to get these days, to help out in the yards."
Some of the features of the crate is it is safe, quick, and easy to use.
Mr Hicks points out that the machine comes with two major pieces.
"It has a base with an entrance gate and a turntable, while the second piece is a top crate with a floors, side, ratchet headbail and the other half of the turntable," Mr Hicks said.
"It resembles a conventional cattle crush and the calf is under complete control at all times.
Other features include the squeeze grains which automatically close against the calf's sides when the crate is rotated. The kick gates automatically close behind the calf when the crate is rotated in either direction.
"The operator never needs to be rushed, and he can work from the one position by rotating the crate through 180 degrees or two operators can work either side," Mr Hicks said.