Numnuts gets the full physio and occupational health check-up
Here we are, four years since our Australian launch to market and heading into the third season since we took the plunge and introduced the Numnuts device to our neighbours across the Tasman. As you probably know, sheep production is different between our countries – so how did it go?
At the height of the last lamb marking season, Dougal Deans from Numnuts headed over to Taupō, Waikato on the North Island to take part in some demos, meet some valued partners, and generally see how everything was going.
We’re pleased to report that everyone was happy, including the lambs! If you fancy a heartwarming tale of trans-Tasman goodwill, read on.
On farm with the Pāmu group
Dougal’s first visit was to Mangamingi Station, a hill country farm that is part of the Pāmu group of 116 farms throughout New Zealand. Pāmu, a Māori word meaning ‘to farm’, is the brand name of Landcorp Farming, a state-owned enterprise with farms producing milk, beef, lamb, wool, venison, wood and more.
Importantly for Numnuts, the enterprise is committed to best farming practices and has a strong international reputation on this account.
Mangamingi Station is one of two Pāmu farms using Numnuts this year. Farm manager Todd Bolton explained how as a producer, he’s open to learning new best practice in an effort to improve welfare and influence overall survival rates.
He introduced Numnuts on two farms this year and was in the middle of marking around 8,000 lambs. The Pāmu team moves around the 3,600 ha farm, marking mobs of 300-500 per session, with one or two sessions a day.
How the team adapted to Numnuts
As Todd explained to Dougal, the farm’s management approach is to avoid rushing, as doing so only leads to issues and stress for humans and animals. That’s one reason the system worked well with the introduction of Numnuts, as everyone took the time to learn how to use the applicator correctly, before getting back up to speed. This changeover time also enabled the team to make one or two changes to their usual chute system, so they could use Numnuts at a comfortable height while maintaining an efficient workflow.
Dougal was interested to learn that the physio and occupational health representative for Pāmu had already taken a good look at the Numnuts device prior to its introduction. This comprised meetings and a full product review, as well as a demo on around 30 lambs.
Todd had also given his review on ease of usage. Full consideration was given to ergonomics during use, and also to the impact on workers using it over the long term to mark hundreds of lambs. This was another important test for Numnuts, which has many features designed with exactly this in mind. As one of the design engineers for Numnuts, Dougal was particularly interested in this aspect.
Feedback from the NZ Numnuts users
What was the verdict? We’re delighted to say that Numnuts passed this rigorous assessment with flying colours. Here’s how it went.
- The team said that opening rings with the device took a little getting used to, but they soon got the hang of it.
- By the end of the half-day session, users felt less physical fatigue than when using the gas-knife for tail docking.
- The Numnuts design meant users didn’t have to rotate their hand during ring application, reducing torque on their wrists (read more about Numnuts ergonomics here).
- The lambs seemed happier, mothering up quickly and being easier to move after marking.
- The team was satisfied that with a few more adjustments (eg. the height of boards, positioning of NumOcaine bottles), they would have a very comfortable working setup.
Mangamingi Station will definitely be using Numnuts again.
Would you like to be a NZ Numnuts ambassador?
Agilis and Numnuts are looking for more farms to work with in 2023 and would like to hear from potential ‘ambassadors’. That’s people like Todd who believe that animal welfare is fundamental to the long term success of the industry in NZ, as covered in our previous post: New Zealand Exporters Can Retain Contracts With Numnuts
If this sounds like you, and you’d be happy to appear on our website and in our social media posts, please get in touch.