Shearing shed contractor Hilton Barrett hosts second open day

Safety first: Henry Ridge from Australian Wool Innovation and shearing shed designer Hilton Barrett at the second open day. Photo: Taylor Jurd
Safety first: Henry Ridge from Australian Wool Innovation and shearing shed designer Hilton Barrett at the second open day. Photo: Taylor Jurd

Sheep producers from across western NSW are taking the steps to ensure their shearers are working in the safest possible conditions after fitting out a health conscious shearing shed on their properties.

The shed was designed by central west shearing contractor Hilton Barrett and in July he hosted an open day for people to see for themselves just how efficient and safe it is.

Mr Barrett went through consultation with shearers, classers and wool growers to design the shed based on the following criteria, efficiency for workers and the flow of livestock, worker safety, quality wool preparation and animal welfare.

After the first open day, where more than 400 people attended, Hilton Barrett said he had received a lot of calls from interested woolgrowers.

"There's so much interest in it that we needed to get it out (a second time) and get these shed companies out and make sure they understand that this is what the farmer wants these days," he explained.

"Not the traditional sheds that are out there."

Mr Barrett said there are currently two farmers in the process of having the shed fitted out on their property with another from Collarenebri starting the build in two weeks.

"I know what's going to happen for the future. If we can get these things out there our industry is going to be safe," he said.

Mr Barrett said manufacturers are starting to realise there is a big push for more efficient shearing sheds.

The central west shearing contractor said workplace, health and safety needs to be a top priority within the industry and so was pleased to see shed builders turn out to the second open day.

"And they're interested to talk with the farmers and to have a bit more input into what's going on," Mr Barrett said.

Australian Wool Innovation backed the research and development of the project and Mr Barrett paid for the shearing shed to be built.

The shearing contractor said he noticed a lot of new faces at the second open day, which was very pleasing to see.

Mr Barrett said he was willing to hold more open days if there is a need for it.

"What a lot of people don't understand is how hard a shearer in a shed works. A shearer in the middle of summer will drink anywhere from 10 to 12 litres of water a day," he said.

"That's how hard they're working and why it's important to get the temperature down in the shearing sheds...."

This shed is the first of its kind and now that they are blueprints available, a builder can fit it out.

"That's what it (the project) was about. Not only building the shearing shed to make sure it was going to work but it was going to give something free to the farmers so they can save a fair bit of money on one of their key infrastructure for the shearing industry," Mr Barrett said after the first open day.