Beef Buzz News
Good Stockmanship, Good Facilities Important, Pate Says
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 17:02:38 CDT
Curt Pate talks about facilities and stockmanship on the Beef Buzz.
Proper facilities for caring for a beef cattle herd are a necessity. Pens, chutes, fences, gates and alleyways can cost a little or a lot. You can spend a whole lot or a little. Curt Pate, a leading low-stress cattle-handling advocate, says in the second part of our Beef Buzz series with him, that well-planned, serviceable facilities are crucial, but need not break the bank.
"Facilities are very, very important. Having good facilities is the responsible thing to do. But, how much facilities can you have and still be profitable? That's important, too. So, the higher the level of our stockmanship becomes, the less we depend on our facilities. I think you need an absolutely good chute, whether it be a hydraulic or a good manual chute and good lead up facilities for working into the chute. After that, everything's a bonus.
"If you're handy enough and your cattle work properly, I sometimes think it's better to have an electric fence set up where you can't put any pressure on those animals out there with the pens, you've got to rely on skill. But then once you get them up into that area where the animals are going to be restrained and they're going to have quite a bit of pressure put on them, we should have that as safe an environment for the animals and the working people at that time."
He says good lead up facilities can take a number of different forms.
"It can be a circular tub or a real popular thing is a bud box right now, whatever. If your cattle are working right, it's just like a horse-if you have a horse that works right, you could ride him off a cliff if you asked him to. You would never ask him to do that, but that is what he should feel like underneath you. If your cattle are working right and you've got them trained properly, you can drive them in a truck, you can drive them anywhere. And then the facilities to get them up there are not so bad. And, you know, I've seen some awful sad setups where people knew how to work and they got by with it."
Pate says producers need to develop a rapport with their cattle, training them how to work properly.
"I think we need to start thinking of ourselves not as cattlemen, but with our stockmanship we need to think about training cattle to work just like training horses to work for us. So the cow-calf producer is kind of like the colt starter. He gets these cattle where they understand pressure, where they understand there's a release of pressure. When the stocker or the backgrounder gets them, they add to the training. And by the time that animal gets to the feedyard he is fully trained and knows how to work through every situation. Then we don't have that stress added on to all the other stresses that come with the big, huge change in the animal's life when they get with all the things in the feedyard. "
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