National Stockyard Systems : Sheep Yards Overview

National Stockyard Systems designs and manufactures an innovative and award winning range of sheep yards which will make handling of your sheep easier.

"Our sheep yards are designed for one person operation. The finished product is the result of years of development and fine turning. The basic bugle and fundamental yard design is a copy of a timber set of yards that I built on a property that I had leased at Manilla in the 1980’s and 90’s. One person drafting (with dogs) was easy and drenching 400 wethers per hour was normal.”

Murray Schaefer
Managing Director
National Stockyard Systems



  • Our patented bolt together system will handle uneven or sloping ground. A 3.2 meter can rise or fall 6 inches via our slotted holes. Greater rises or falls are possible using our extender cleats. Importantly, impact is still spread over the adjacent panels if a sheep hits hard, minimizing damage to sheep and yards.
  • The steel we use is Grade 450 (very high tensile and gal inside and out), Australian Made and generally is
    sourced from Bluescope Steel.
  • Our bolt together system will eliminate rattle noise and is stronger than pins, acts as a theft deterrent and does not take much longer to erect than a pin together system.
  • Alternative joining systems utilizing cleats and pins result in a trap point for animal legs and human arms in the gap between the panels at the top.
  • If a gate does swing back to lay flat against the adjacent panel, then it is very easy for the gate hinges to be broken, or the gate hinge to be torn off the post (due to the fulcrum effect).
    That is why some other yard manufacturers swing their gates on the outside perimeter of the yards. (This results in the operator having to do a figure of 8 around the yard when transferring sheep to the next yard.) Our gates generally swing from the inside, thereby minimizing operator walking and greatly enhancing sheep flow.
  • The shape and placement of our slam catches makes them non-bruise. Also there is a 90 mm long slot to cater for rise and fall of the gate. This prevents having to manually lift a sagging gate to engage the catch as per traditional slam keepers.
  • Our pricing is GST inclusive (as per the law)
  • The longer panels we use result in the erected yards being bigger than they appear on paper.
  • We provide realistic working and holding capacities. Holding capacities are based on 3 sheep / square metre. Working capacities leave room for drafting and processing. When comparing yards with other suppliers it is vital to check the total area of the yards and flexibility with regard to processing. (Our capacities equate to good conditioned 4 tooth medium wool wethers with a 6 month skin. Big framed ewes with plenty of skin and a high percentage of lambs will need double the area. – to relate it to your individual operation, a standard semi deck has approximately 29M2 of deck space – How many of your sheep do you load per deck?).
  • The automatic stoppers on our gates prevent the gates over riding the keeper when slammed and eliminates the gate being pushed through when counting. The slam catch pin rotates back behind the gate post so as not to be a rib catcher when counting. The absence of chains on all gates under 3.3 metres eliminates noisy chain rattle and chains flapping about on the end of gates or off posts.
  • A 360 degree swinging gate with a double gudgeon and chain latch can result in a big gap between the gate post and the latch post. Lambs can file through and adult sheep get their heads stuck in the gap. Drop bolt gate latches are a real rib catcher and can be slow to engage.
  • Main drafting race body is 4.0 metres long to give more time for accurate ear mark drafting.
  • The draft gates on both the V Race and Draft Box have 7 rails so lambs cannot get their head between the rails. Also the gates are longer than standard to make drafting easier.
  • Standard height is 1100mm ( 3’7” ) which is higher than in the past as sheep are getting bigger and a broken legged lamb is now a dear bag of dog tucker. However the top rail of the main working race is can be incrementally lowered to facilitate beside race husbandry.
  • Standard race internal width is 700 mm ( 2’4” ). This is still a comfortable width for drenching, mouthing etc while in the race. Some others supply a race that is only 550 to 600mm wide. If a big sheep gets spun around or tipped over in a narrow race then the operator often has to back it all the way out of the race. Also when a race is too narrow, and a woolly sheep baulks or stops, then it stops the whole flow of sheep as other sheep cannot file past it.
  • The V Race is separate from the main working race. If sheep have to file through the V Race into the working race it makes for a slow fill. Also sheep will not pack up tight.
  • The draft box shown at the end of the race (forming part of the main working race) will be used often – taking off the odd cull, fly blown, neighbour’s stray, rams out of the ewes etc. In addition it is extremely time saving when classing or mouthing etc.
  • Vertical rails in the race gates minimise the chance of a broken leg.
  • The yards are designed to be fully erected and then the concrete is poured in place. The V Race and Draft Box have their own inbuilt formwork so the only additional formwork required is along the race.
  • Yards can be easily adapted for load out facilities, count out pens and shed loading. An important consideration is direction of race in relation to the shed. It is vital for sheep flow that the finished yard does not have the bugle, working race or V Race headed back toward the shed

We are often asked by resellers to sell through them, but we only sell direct. Thus, by purchasing direct the end user is receiving practical advice and a superior product at a lower cost than going through a reseller. Some resellers push clients into products they make the most margin on, rather than the most suitable product.

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National Stockyard Systems: Australia's best Stockyards: Designed by stockmen for stockhandlers.
Call Murray Schaefer on 0425 315 913 for a quote!
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