Applying Lessons Learned from Sheep Farming to Concrete Construction

Innovation can happen anywhere, anytime doing anything. Here's a story that will help you understand why we do what we do at Delcor Equipment

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Lambs in Winter.jpg

The Challenge

Imagine being a sheep farmer in Canada in the middle of February and you have herd of ewes ready to give birth to their lambs. Like people, sheep don't give birth at the most convenient times. More
often than not, they decide it's time on the coldest day, in the dead of night. Most of the time the ewes would give birth without incident, but from time to time, something would happen and they would need help.

So, being consciencious farmers, several times a night, we would need to climb out of bed, get dressed to go outside, walk down to the barn and check on the sheep. We soon learned that pregnant ewes like their privacy. It seemed that if we happened to arrive anytime before the very end stages of labour, the ewe could mysteriously slow down the birthing process and we could end up waiting for hours for her to deliver. But if we arrived just before she was ready to give birth, she couldn't stop it then.

We knew we needed to be available in case the ewes had trouble and right afterwards to make sure the lambs were able to get up and begin feeding, but we didn't need to be there throughout the labour process. In fact, the sheeps were more relaxed when we weren't there. And to be honest, it's really not that much fun waiting in a cold, dark barn in the middle of the night when you don't have to.

The Solution

Les got a used closed circuit tv surveillance system, hooked up cameras in the barn and ran cable to the monitor in the house. We placed recliner by the monitor so we could take turns sleeping in the chair and checking in on the activity in the barn on what we named SHTV - Sheep TV. When we saw a ewe reaching the "point of no return" it was only then that we had to head down to the barn and be there just in case. The ewes were much more relaxed and we were able to stay warm and sleep more, which was a blessing since we both had day jobs as well.

I remember when Les' mom, who had grown up on a farm and also farmed with Les' dad for many years, heard about our SHTV she just shook her head and called us lazy farmers. I get why she thought that at the time - we we using technology, not even meant for farming, to save us from difficult chores that farmers had been doing forever. But the reality is it wasn't that we were lazy and trying to just get out of work, the innovation that we brought to our farm not only enhanced our lives but also had a positive effect on our animals.


The innovative problem solving we used on the farm is the same as what we do at Delcor Equipment. When faced with a challenge, we are not content to solve it using the same methods we always have. Identifying useful solutions that are "out of the box" isn't always easy. To be honest, I'm not great at it. But Les is. He has that kind of mind - the kind that is always looking for a better way. Even when we are watching tv at night. Click here to read the story of how Delcor Equipment was started from watching a Honda Pilot commercial.

CUBE Loading.jpgWhen we faced problems with late deliveries of ready-mix concrete and short-load fees, rather than just accepting this as our fate, when the opportunity arose we took control by producing our own concrete with Cart-Away Concrete Systems portable concrete mixers. We now have the flexibility to produce concrete when and where we needed it and control the cost at the same time.

Topics: Innovation Invention better way process improvement