In most industries, innovation is the name of the game these days. Creating new ways to complete tasks that improve daily life, make jobs easier to do, and reduce the time it takes to do them is a common theme across all different industries. But in the cattle industry, who has truly been working to create the best cattle squeeze chute for ranchers?
While most of the agriculture industry has embraced technology and dramatically improved the way farmers complete their daily tasks, too many ranching and cattle equipment manufacturers have fallen behind the curve on innovation. While cattle handling has evolved to embrace proper Stockmanship techniques and low-stress cattle handling practices, most cattle chutes available on the market are no different than that which your grandfather or great grandfather would have had access to!
We’ve all heard the term “innovation” as it has been a popular buzzword for some time now, but what does it really mean to be innovative?
While it is easier to continue to do the same thing over and over again, there is great value in finding ways to improve. Why settle for a chute or handling system that merely “does the job” when there is a better, safer way to manage livestock?
With the true meaning of innovation in mind, let’s dive into why innovation matters when it comes to cattle handling equipment. And more importantly, how can innovative cattle equipment benefit your operation?
Safety is of the utmost importance when handling livestock in the squeeze chute, but not all chutes are up to the task.
- Given the tasks that are completed in a squeeze chute, there is no room to compromise on safety. Whether you are needling, branding, or preg checking livestock, you need to have equipment that will keep your workers safe. Additionally, any opportunity to minimize cattle stress will make cattle less likely to thrash around and create dangerous situations.
- Stressed out cattle are always more dangerous than docile cattle. Look for a chute designed with low-stress cattle handling principles that will pair well with the Stockmanship practices you are using in the yard and pens. Acclimating your cattle to the handling system and chute can also make cattle more docile and willing to move through the handling system efficiently, helping to lower stress levels in livestock and handlers alike.
New designs mean that handling cattle doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore.
- New cattle handling equipment designs make it easier for ranchers to manage their livestock. Gone are the days of spending hours palpating a few head of cattle, or working them through a handling system they refuse to flow through. Animal science has proven that cattle are drawn to light because they believe they can escape, and new cattle equipment designs use light to draw cattle through the handling system. Small changes to equipment, such as a barred head gate that allows light to filter through the chute and adjustable sheeting on alleyways, can dramatically improve cattle flow through the system to minimize stress and make the process easier for everyone.
Experienced ranch hands are hard to find.
- Every rancher has heard this one before. Good help is hard to find, and becoming harder every day. Experienced ranch hands are a rarity, and the cost of that experienced help is on the rise as a result. Often, working cattle is a solo job or one that includes family and friends. That makes reliable equipment that won’t break even more important. Equipment failure is never good, but you definitely don’t want to see that when it’s your wife or teen helping to run the squeeze chute.
- It is also important to look at the warranty on the equipment you invest in. Choose a manufacturer that stands behind the quality of their equipment and support their clients with excellent customer care to get your equipment up and running again as quickly as possible if an issue arises.
The best cattle chute hasn’t been created yet.
- There will always be new technology, new ideas, and safer ways to work cattle that emerge over time. As the last area of agriculture to truly embrace technology, cattle ranching has an exciting future in the coming years. In the pursuit of crafting the best cattle chute, the industry will see new options that will change cattle handling forever.
An example of a manufacturer who keeps this all in mind is Arrowquip, who is leading the charge in cattle equipment innovations. As a company, they refuse to settle for ‘good enough’ or accept the way that things have always been done. Through a constant process of research, getting input from cattle producers, and a team of engineers dedicated to improving the cattle industry, they are taking cattle handling to a whole new level on their mission to make ranching families safe.
Arrowquip’s team of engineers and experienced ranchers have created a culture of healthy competition within their team, in an industry that has yet to try to keep up. The drive to do better, be better, and improve the industry with better ways to manage cattle leads to equipment unlike anything another manufacturer offers. With more ranches being operated by people who work a 9-5 and run the ranch in the evenings and on the weekends, time is more important than ever before. Every piece of equipment they develop is designed with safety, ease of use, and faster processing at the forefront to simplify cattle handling and give ranchers back time to focus on their families.
The new Hydraulic Jack System, available on 700 Series portable cattle handling systems, is the prime example of creative engineering put to work. Based on customer feedback on the former electric jack option, which was already a more reliable solution than most portable cattle handling systems offer to ranchers, the Arrowquip Innovations Team created a better way to lift and lower the unit in the field. The update includes a military-grade Solar Panel with pulse technology for optimal battery health, a 165-amp hydraulic power unit, and 12V battery that can be easily charged or jumped with ports on the outside of the box. This portable cattle handling system is unlike any other, making it far easier to handle and move the unit between locations. A true testament to the value of innovation, and saving busy ranchers time and money.
Not sure which cattle chute is right for you? Check out the Cattle Chute Buyer’s Guide to help you narrow down your search, and visit arrowquip.com/cattle-equipment to view their entire lineup of truly innovative cattle handling equipment.
This article was published on behalf of Arrowquip.