In the heart of Central Otago, on State Highway 8, south of Alexandra, James Russell runs a fattening operation on a block down the road from Gorge Creek Station (GCS), his main farm. Moving cattle back and forth from the home yards became a hassle that James wasn't willing to continue dealing with from this second block. At the end of the day, the quicker you have cattle through the yards and back out on grass, the better from an ROI standpoint. Being a sharp operator, James saw the need for another, more central set of yards.
Having spoken with a few of our competitors, James was a bit hesitant when he saw the cost involved for a set of yards around the 100 head mark before discovering Onefarm. James reached out to Onefarm, and we kicked things off with a site visit at the unique Roxburgh site. The old site, with existing mining-era ruins still present, required a fair bit of earth moving and tree removal to prepare the site for the new yards. Having to work around the existing ruins was a unique opportunity and made for a cool end result, very true to Central Otago. James was pleased to add utility to the site, which was otherwise dead space.
After the initial site visit, we overlaid our 120-head yard on the drone shot to show how the yard would sit on-site, how stock would flow into the yards, and how the loading ramp would be positioned to ensure ease of loading and stock truck access. Pleased with what he was seeing from a planning perspective, James wanted to see one of our Commercial yards in place to get a gauge on general quality, how our slam latches worked, and how our forcing circle worked. We had one over in South Otago which James viewed and concluded he was happy to proceed with the Commercial 120-head option. Now having used the forcing circle a few times, James had this to say
“We love the forcing circle. We think the bent gates that line it are awesome now that we’ve work with them. We love how it’s a very safe system.”
As site works began with a bunch of trees being ripped out, James and Kieran decided to change the operation of the yard from left-hand to right-hand after changing their minds on how they would feed the yards and how holding pens would work. This isn't very common; however, we were happy to adapt and make it work.
“We had a couple of adjustments we had to make on the fly and you worked with us on that. So we found the whole service very dynamic and cohesive from site design plans to timely communication to the end result.”
James opted to concrete just the Working Area and fill the balance of the yards with Central Otago shingle. Rather than banging pegs in the ground for all panels and gates that lined the outer pens, James and his team poured concrete footings for all panels and gates, subsequently benefiting from the strength of bolting panels and gates to concrete. It's a cost-effective and innovative solution that many of our customers are now considering.
James and Kieran no longer dread having to move stock for miles from one block back to their home yards. Instead, they love using their new steel system. When we spoke with James a few weeks ago, we asked how he was enjoying the yards, and he said:
"We used both our home yards and the new yards in the same day last week, and the difference was chalk and cheese! That big non-stock working area, that’s a bit of a luxury. Once you’ve had one, you wouldn’t go back!”
James set a budget for the project from the outset, which we committed to. Despite a few stock delays as a result of COVID shipping challenges, we delivered this project bang on budget. The price we agreed upon at the beginning was the price paid in the end. There were no overruns or extras added throughout that hadn't been considered from the outset. At Onefarm, we pride ourselves on ensuring our proposals are complete from the beginning. We're completely transparent about what is included and what isn't before committing to a project. That way, there aren't any surprises down the track.
This yard is situated just south of Alexandra on State Highway 8. If you'd like to have a look, please contact us.
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