NZ Dairy Summer 2021

| 91 nzdairy RURAL SERVICES » Reporoa Engineering ReporoaEngineeringcontinuouslyevolving Kelly Deeks With the season and milk payout looking promising, what better time to upgrade or replace that old backing gate with the newest, latest, and greatest version. Product development and commitment to constant innovation continues at Reporoa Engineering, and its Reporoa Herdflow Backing Gates have been redesigned to create more efficiencies from their manufacture to the yard. Since their development in the early 1990s, there are now more than 700 Reporoa Herdflow Backing Gates being used in dairy operations throughout New Zealand and all over the world, including sheep and goat milking operations. Reporoa Engineering director Daniel Gorton says while some of these gates are getting older, they can now be retrofitted with modern advancements. “We used to run backing gates in a channel, and now we run them on an I-beam so they can’t be derailed,” he says. “We have re-developed our patented pinch drive system which has been used on our Reporoa Herdflow Crowd Gate for quite some time, and we can now use and retro fit this on to our existing earlier model backing gates to prevent crabbing and derailing issues as the product gets older.” With the new pinch drive design, the drive wheel runs on the side of the I-beam instead of the top. Reporoa Engineering and Dairy Systems has been able to increase the pressure it could put on the drive wheel units, and at the same time decrease the strain it placed on the drive axle assembly. “Because of this we have reduced opportunities for slippage and have greatly increased the strength of the entire drive system, while still guaranteeing the gate’s ability to not be able to be derailed.” The Reporoa Herdflow Crowd Gate and the Reporoa Herdflow High Lift Gate are now modeled from the same H frame, and the left and right hand sides are now also modelled the same, making the gates more efficient to manufacture and keeping manufacturing costs down. Most components are now profiled and laser cut, so the amount of material fabrication required has been significantly reduced. The gates’ electrical systems have all been refined to plug and play, removing the need to have an electrician on site at installation. “As long as there is power to the corner of the yard, we can plug the gate into a standard 240V outlet and run it pretty much straight away.” As Reoporoa Herdflow gates are now 99% bolted and clamped together, they can be assembled very quickly, often in between milkings. “We would remove the old gate, then they would have probably three milkings without a gate, then we’ve got the new gate up and going,” Daniel says. “That is pretty doable, especially if the old gate was causing problems.” The clamping design as an alternative to site fabrication and welding has also greatly increased the gates’ overall strength, so there is a very minimal chance of them developing stress cracks over time. To protect animal health and make farmers jobs easier, Reporoa Herdflow gates include breach sensing technology so if the gate begins to push up against the cows, it automatically stops. Pulse forward technology allows farmers to programme in automated stops at set distances as the gate travels forward. “Our gates really automate the whole cow management and loading operation into both herringbone and rotary sheds,” Daniel says. “Cows are encouraged to move easily from yard to shed, resulting in minimal operator involvement and consequently less stress on animals and operators. It helps farmers to minimise labour requirements and maximises the advantages of other labour-saving innovations such as automatic cup removers.” Reporoa Herdflow also offers a range of add-on labour saving features so farmers can customise their system to suit the requirements of their particular farming operation. These include the popular Dungbuster Automatic Yard Cleaning System. Damian Roberts (manager) and Reporoa Engineering director Daniel Gorton. Crowd Gate (below).