December 28, 2011

New Zealand shearing sheds - plans and construction details

By Lindsay Galloway

Click on the link below to view, or download your own copy of the document in full on Scribd, the web publishing platform.
NZ Shearing Sheds Construction or Renovation 1981

Introduction by Dr Clive Dalton

Getting information to farmers that they could understand and use to improve their profits, was the main driving force for all of us who worked for the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries (MAF) in the 1970s to 1990. Our ‘Information Services' section was staffed by top agricultural journalists, and we had radio and TV producers the equal of any in the commercial world.

The core for the printed information flow to farmers was a series of fact sheets called 'AgLinks' developed by Geoffrey Moss, a former Farm Adviser, especially well respected in Taranaki, who headed MAF Information Services.

Geoff was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship to visit America and came back with the AgLink idea, to get research information from scientists to farmers, horticulturalists and their advisers, in brief ‘fact sheets’ that were easy to read, easy to file – and were free! The were an 'information link'.

Geoff appointed Colin Gardner as the first editor – a kiwi Sheep and Wool Instructor who had come back from working in Australia. Other top agricultural journalists, editors and people like me in the different MAF regions, joined the team, which started work in 1969.

We sourced topics for AgLinks and did the first drafts, which our Head Office editors fixed up and got printed for distribution either from the Wellington Head Office or through each MAF local office.

We ended up with well over 1000 topics, and we printed and gave away thousands, from which farmers could build up into sets on different topics. The sheets were colour coded to make this easy.

The aim was that if a farmer had a question – MAF needed to have an AgLink to answer it - and we did. We were farming’s Google before Google! Clearly the concept was well ahead of its time.

Shearing Sheds - plans and construction details

A classic example of the value of AgLinks was the series on Shearing Sheds written

by Lindsay Galloway, who was the highly respected Sheep & Wool officer in the MAF Christchurch office. Lindsay drew all the plans himself and had them checked by building inspectors from the Ministry of Works.

Lindsay says that as he travels around Canterbury and beyond in his retirement, he can see the results of his 40 year's service to the New Zealand sheep and wool industry still standing proudly on farms, many of which don't run sheep now and have been adapted for calf rearing with the change to dairying.

Lindsay also worked to help sheep farmers on the Chatham Islands where many of his sheds were built, and have withstood the challenging climate there.

Linsday Galloway’s Shearing Shed AgLinks are still as relevant today as they were when produced, and are invaluable for anyone wanting to build a new shearing shed, or to repair or modify a facility that has fallen into disrepair.

The death of AgLinks

AgLinks were dumped in 1989 after a failed attempt to charge for them by the ‘new MAF business managers’ who saw the end of MAF’s dedicated service to farmers. All Head Office copies had to go to the Wellington landfill, but some of us in the regions pirated a set. The National Library holds an incomplete set.


  1. It is informative post. This plans and construction details really awesome. I am so much glad to find this blog. Everything is perfect information to farmers.

  2. One of the great things about the agricultural department in New Zealand in the 1950s, 1960s was the support it gave to New Zealand's young farmers and students in the form of information publications related to a host of agricultural subjects from beekeeping, sheep farming, and dairying etc. These publications were a goldmine of information that had been painstakingly documented by dedicated individuals whose prime aim was to see the disseminate free pertinent information for the benefit of young farmers throughout New Zealand. The demise of AgLinks precipitated by the mercenary ideals of the new generation of MAF business managers was an absolute disaster.
    A big thanks to those individuals who salvaged this material, and saw that it survived into the future.
    This was exactly what I was looking for. Awesome. Thanks Clive.