Implementation of Improved Rubber Matting at Burmah Station
Paraway Pastoral Company, the owner of Burmah Station located near Graman NSW, operates a thriving cattle station under the stewardship of Dick Drysdale. Having been with the company for six years, Drysdale oversees the operation, which sees a fluctuation in cattle numbers throughout the year, peaking to around 3,000 to 4,000 head during the months of May through July.
Prior to 2023, Burmah Station had been experiencing issues with the cattle slipping on the existing yard matting. The poor design and texture of the old matting, which had started to deteriorate, was causing the cattle to lose their footing. Consequently, incidents of cattle slipping and injuring themselves, sometimes severely with dislocated back legs, became a significant problem. The associated costs were also substantial. As each steer could be worth over $2,000, losing even 10% of 1,000 head through injury represented a substantial financial loss.
In addition to causing injury to the cattle, the old matting was contributing to a noisy, chaotic environment. Cattle that slipped in the race, or narrow chute, would often crash into the sides, creating noise and agitation.
Furthermore, the old matting was uncomfortable for the staff to walk on, a fact not unnoticed by Drysdale who highlighted this aspect of daily work at the station.
In an attempt to address these issues, Burmah Station decided to switch to YoungStar matting. Specially designed for cattle, it is fast becoming the industry standard for the prevention of slipping. In addition to being safer for the cattle, the new matting was also more comfortable for the staff to walk on compared to the old mats.
Results and Feedback
The results of this change were immediate. The new matting has significantly reduced the incidence of slipping and related injuries. Drysdale estimates that the rate of falls has been cut by at least half, representing a significant saving in potential losses.
The impact has extended beyond the reduction of injury and associated costs. The new matting in the race has reduced noise and agitation among the cattle. Since they no longer slip, they move through the race more smoothly without crashing into the sides. This improvement has also made the working environment less stressful for both the cattle and the staff.
The transition to the new rubber matting has been highly successful. Drysdale enthusiastically recommended it, stating that the benefits have been dramatic and clear. The positive effects on cattle safety, staff comfort, and overall operation efficiency mark this project as a resounding success for Paraway Pastoral Company at Burmah Station.