Picking the right portable cattle handling system is like picking a new cowboy hat!
Cattle chutes and cowboy hats are both important to ranchers, and they are commonly seen on ranches across the United States. While they may seem very different on the surface, you’ll be surprised to learn that they actually have quite a few things in common!
What do portable cattle handling systems and cowboy hats have in common?
- Size matters
- Bigger isn’t always better
- You can take them anywhere with you
- Ranchers love them
In all seriousness, these similarities between portable cattle handling systems and cowboy hats are a stretch at best, but choosing the right one really will make all the difference for you. With so many options available in the industry, here are the top four things to keep in mind when purchasing your next portable cattle chute.
1. Size Matters. With the alley, that is.
When choosing a portable cattle handling system, the length of the adjustable cattle alley is very important. Many portables only have one section of alley, which results in cattle being left in the tub for longer periods of time during processing and may lead to hesitation or stubbornness when it is time to leave the tub. Longer alleyways allow cattle to follow one another. With portable handling systems, combining this concept while making the unit easy to transport is a challenge that engineers are always faced with.
Arrowquip has just released a new model of portable with 18 feet of their Easy Flow Adjustable Cattle Alleys. This full portable cattle handling system allows you to manage your cattle properly, as the longer alleyway provides enough capacity for cattle to flow out of the tub smoothly by following one another. This enables handlers to create proper flow and draw through the system, and drastically minimizes livestock stress.
2. Bigger isn’t always better, when it comes to towing.
It is common knowledge that towing a large, bulky unit can be difficult. This can be additionally frustrating if you travel on gravel roads, or uneven terrain regularly with your portable cattle chute. A small trip between locations can quickly become a nightmare if you are dealing with a unit that isn’t properly aligned with your truck, is too low to the ground, or is so long you cannot maneuver it easily.
There are new models of portable cattle chutes available that are designed to provide a compact, sleek towing experience. The collapsible tub on Arrowquip’s new 700 Series portable cattle handling systems is more compact than ever, measuring just 44 inches wide , and up to 8 feet shorter than previous models when packaged for towing! When combined with a hitch that has a reinforced gusset to minimize bounce and can be adjusted to work with vehicles of varying heights, as well as the new heavy-duty frame, these portable units make it easier to transport your portable cattle handling system than ever before.
3. You can take them anywhere with you. But not all models can stand up to the strain of towing.
Durability is incredibly important with a portable cattle handling system, and the frame of the unit is a key factor in that durability. The quality of steel and size of the beams play a large role in overall strength of the unit, but it’s also important to look at the connections and welds to ensure you are getting a quality product in every aspect. You really do not want to be flying down the road when something goes wrong!
The new lineup of portable cattle chutes and handling equipment from Arrowquip feature a reinforced, heavy-duty frame. Their equipment now has 2-by-6-inch beams on the top and 3-by-3-inch beams on the bottom to ensure the structural integrity of the unit under any circumstances, specifically towing. In addition, their portable frames are built with single piece steel beams that run the length of the unit! These thoughtful design features and heavy-duty beams were chosen by the engineering team to minimize flex and maximize the performance of the equipment both on the road and off with added durability.
4. Ranchers love them … when they pick a model that suits their needs.
Choosing the right model of portable cattle handling unit is a trickier process than it may seem up front. There are a variety of things to consider, like the handling systems that already exist at the locations you’ll be bringing the equipment to, the pens you are working with, and especially the style of cattle chute that you want to manage your cattle with. Ultimately, the choice for everyone will be different, so it is important to take your time and look at all of the options available to you before you make your final choice.
For starters, look at the cattle chutes on the equipment you’re considering on their own. This is the key element that will make or break your cattle handling, so settling for a chute that doesn’t provide you with the access or features you need is not a good idea. Narrow down your selection of cattle chutes to your top three, and eliminate the others before getting into the other components of the portable cattle handling system and make your final decision. You will be happier in the long run!
A portable cattle handling system is a large investment that can serve your operation well for years, if you find the right one! Taking the time to review the options available to you carefully, and considering the pros and cons of various models will lead to the best investment for your operation and will keep you on the road for years to come, maybe even longer than that top of the line cowboy hat.
This article was published on behalf of Arrowquip.