Well-managed cattle herds are run through the corral and chutes several times a year for things like vaccinations, castration, artificial insemination and parasite treatments. Producers with good, workable chutes are more likely to complete the appropriate practices than an owner with sub-par facilities according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
"If you run beef cattle, whether it is a stocker or cow-calf program, you need some type of facility in which to treat those cattle," said Cole.
Since the profitability has returned to the cattle business, Cole says there seems to be more interest in updating marginal facilities. Cattle that get regular treatment will improve their health and profitability.
"One feature I've noticed in remodeled corrals is greater use of concrete. This is desirable, of course, from a human and cattle safety and sanitation standpoint. However, if the concrete is too smooth it results in slips and falling for both workers and the cattle," said Cole.
Most new concrete floors are grooved to aid in drainage and to prevent slips and falls. Some of this helps but a simple mat is also a great solution to slipping and sliding, especially as the cattle leave the head chute.
"Implement tire mats have been used around chutes for years especially in feedlots. They'll work in this area also. Observe your corral situation and look for areas to improve safety for cattle and those who handle them," said Cole.
(by David Burton, Greene County Extension Center)