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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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New shearing system replaces traditional sheep-catching pens

The ShearMaster

Sheep shearing does not have to be a drag, although it is recognised as one of the toughest professions in the world and is one of the few occupations where the workers take a sweat towel to work with them and use it.

Perkinz, a New Zealand farming brand, has just released their new shearing system (The ShearMaster) that not only makes a tough job easier, but faster.

It replaces the traditional sheep-catching pens with a race delivery system that not only saves space but significantly cuts down the distance the shearer must drag the sheep.

The irrefutable laws of physics dictate that it takes less time and energy to drag a sheep half a metre than three-to-four metres.

If you are shearing two hundred and fifty sheep a day that average eighty kilograms each in a traditional shearing shed, you end up dragging about twenty thousand kilograms about three to four metres.

The ShearMaster reduces that down to half a metre. People can make up their own minds about which makes more sense!

The new five-stand ShearMaster system was just launched in Tasmania, Australia on July 10th, 2023, and Wayne Perkins flew over from New Zealand to be there for its first day being used in anger.

Wayne said: “It was nerve-wracking leading up to the day.”

“As you never really know how a new product will perform, especially when handling something as unpredictable as sheep, but it out-performed not just our expectations but the expectations of both the shearers and the farmer.”

The first order for a 6-stand unit was placed the very next day by a farmer who was watching the system in action and talking to the shearers and farmer.


A feature of the ShearMaster is that it uses a long race system that allows a decent number of sheep to be readily available, hence reducing how often the system needs filled from the forcing pens.

A five-stand ShearMaster race can hold about 35 to 40 sheep which is around 7 to 8 sheep per shearer.

Another significant feature is the no-hands race latch that allows the shearer to remove sheep quickly and safely from the race just by leaning their hip against the flap.

There is no latch to flick or gate to pull open, just lean over to get the sheep and the flap will unlock automatically.

But arguably the most innovative feature of the ShearMaster, is that by dropping the height of the shearing board, and attaching CrutchMaster cradles, it becomes an upright sheep crutching system that eliminates not only bending over but the catch and drag as well.

Wayne says the benefits of the Perkinz ShearMaster system are not just that it makes the shearer’s life easier, but it potentially allows them to shear more using less energy.

However, it is also a more cost-effective system for farmers as the ShearMaster requires less shed space and can allow for a multi-purpose shearing shed, he adds.

“It has taken a hell of a lot of work and many a sleepless night,” says Wayne.”

“But, it is great to see products made with Kiwi ingenuity, which is the hallmark of the Perkinz brand, being manufactured in New Zealand and providing solutions for farmers all over the world,” he concluded.

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