JAD Agriculture is a livestock business based near Yeoval in Central West NSW. With 1020 hectares under management since 2012, business owners, Justin and Amy Dickens, have focused on breeding Speckle Park cattle with a good amount of success. They have since established a seedstock enterprise, JAD Speckle Park.
In 2020, Justin and Amy were experiencing problems with cattle slipping at their Greenvale yards. Justin explains, “We didn’t have a deep enough pattern in the concrete, and we were getting too many cattle unsure on their feet. As a result, they were getting stressed out. With the moisture and the manure, they slip on it, particularly in the force area.”
Justin was particularly concerned about injuries to high value stock, “We run a stud and we’ve got high value animals. You’ve only got to break a pelvis or have an injury and it pretty quickly gets expensive.”
Justin became aware of YoungStar mat as a potential solution to their slipping problem after it was suggested by stock yards company, Te Pari. On seeing the mat for the first time, Justin’s thoughts were that it looked like it would be the most feasible solution for their yards.
In May 2021, they installed YoungStar matting in a few of key areas. “We put it all through our race and C-force and lead up pen and in our round pen in our drafting compound, basically the high-working areas,” says Justin.
Since then, Justin says the new mats have done an excellent job of reducing cattle slipping. “It’s certainly improved the slipping problem out of sight. There are no cattle going down. It’s reducing slipping by 60-70%. As a result, they’re happier to be on there,” says Justin.
In addition to reducing slipping, Justing says the mat was easy to install and is holding up well. “Installing it was easy and there’s been no hassles with it at all. We’ve put a lot of cattle across it now. There’s been 2500-3000 head of cattle on it and it’s holding up well at this point in time, it’s a pretty robust product,” says Justin.
One surprising benefit of installing the mats has been their ease of cleaning. Justin explains, “It’s very good to wash off. I’ve hosed it off a couple of times now. I thought the pattern on it might cause problems, but it doesn’t, it lifts and is easy to get off. I’m really happy with it.”
Another surprising benefit has been an overall reduction in noise which Justin says has made a big difference for the cattle and those handling them, “It’s much quieter which is something I’m noticing, there’s a lot less noise on the mat, and the cattle are much more settled because they’re surefooted, they’re not worried about slipping and falling. That’s made a big difference.”