WA wool producers will have a unique opportunity to view one of the latest innovations in wool harvesting technologies when the Hecton Highlander shearing sys-tem is demonstrated at Wagin Woolorama for the first time next month.
Unlike conventional shearing, the Hecton Highlander takes away the need catch and drag, release of the sheep and bending while harvesting the wool.
It is designed to make shearing easier, safer and cost effective for both shearers and woolgrowers.
Suitable for shearing all types and sizes of sheep, the upright posture shearing platform (UPSP) allows people with few shearing skills to operate and assists those with back injuries, helping to attract and keep people in the industry.
Dandaragan Mechanical Service’s Richard Roe said the new technology had several advantages over conventional shearing.
“One of the major advantages of the Hecton Highlander is that operators do not have to spend time and energy pulling the sheep out of the catching pen as the sheep as loaded directly on to the table, thus minimising physical stress,” Mr Roe said.
“The operator is in a standing position while shearing the sheep, which will help eliminate back injuries.”
Occupational Health and Safety was one of the main considerations when building the new technology.
“Farmers have to pay their premiums on workers compensation on things such as catch and drag and bending over the sheep, which we have managed to eliminate,” Mr Roe said.
The Hecton Highlander con-sists of a catching race, tipping box, shearing bed and retracting belt. A ramp leads up into the elevated catching race (tipping box) where the animal is gently clamped and delivered to the shearing bed.
The tipping box then releases the sheep and returns to the catching position.
“Both of the sheep’s legs are then restrained,” Mr Roe said.
“The shearer then proceeds to take the secondary wools off, opening up the near side of the sheep and the neck, before bringing down the belly bar.
As the wool is being shorn the retracting belt carries it away.