The Industry Standard in Low Stress Cattle Handling
Published on Thu, 05/09/2019 - 8:50am
The Industry Standard in Low Stress Cattle Handling
By Steve Weisman
Working cattle in close quarters has always been a high stress, labor intensive and, yes, even dangerous job for both handlers and the cattle. Most dangerous of all is that high intensity zone, that 10-12-foot area behind the chute. It is definitely high stress. Art Leetch has been around cattle all his life and has seen some pretty crazy things, even dangerous things happen when working cattle. “My dad was a ranch hand, and growing up in the Sand Hills of Nebraska, my whole life has been about working cattle. I love cattle, and over the years, it frustrated me watching all the stress, misery and pain cattle would go through with the old style chutes and the primitive way cattle were worked.”
That all changed in 2006 when Leetch was introduced to a new way of working cattle. “In 2006, I was introduced to the Moly SILENCER Squeeze Chute System invented and designed by Jon Mollhagen, owner of Moly Manufacturing. I was sold.” From that moment, Leetch knew these were the products he wanted to share with cattle producers. For him personally and all of his many satisfied customers, the A. L. SILENCER Squeeze Chute System has definitely been a game changer in the way cattlemen work their cattle. According to Leetch, there are so many benefits for both cattle and the handlers. “It is low stress for the cattle, there are less injuries to either cattle or handlers, it is quick and efficient, there is less labor which means it is a real money saver and its longevity is unbelievable.”
Now 13 years later, Leetch has built his business, SILENCER Hydraulic Squeeze Chutes (www.alsilencer.com) to include himself and two other professional sales staff, an office manager and a delivery, installation and service professional. Located in Stapleton, NE, Leetch has satisfied customers all across the United States. “We have an excellent inventory on hand to take care of whatever the customer needs. We have sold many complete systems and have one producer that has bought three complete systems.”
At the same time, Leetch and his sales staff will work with producers to get the exact products they need. “We work with each one to meet their needs. We sell complete systems, but at the same time, we know that there are customers that will buy one piece individually and can do this in many phases. We will work to get the producer the equipment that works best for that particular facility.”
For Jerry Hertzog of Butler, MO, product availability was extremely important. “The main thing that made my decision was the fact that Art had what I wanted in stock. My system was delivered and installed in 10 days. I’ve been sold on the quality of SILENCER for years, and when I was ready to buy one, I needed it quickly and I wanted someone to install and service the machinery.”
The sale is just the first step. Leetch says, “We deliver and install the equipment and then walk the customer through the product so that the customer understands everything and feels comfortable using the equipment.
Low Stress Cattle Handing and Worker Safety
That best describes using Moly’s Flight Zone Avoidance (FZA) system, which is a remote-controlled hydraulic system that significantly limits time, labor costs and is a safe and humane means of handling cattle. Safety comes in not having to be in that impact area (the last 10-12-foot alleyway to the SILENCER Chute). Instead, a remote control unit keeps the handlers safely away from the cattle.
It’s understandable why this is truly a high pressure area. After all the cattle have come from a large pasture to a pen to a crowding area and then into a 30-inch alley that leads to the squeeze chute. Prior to the FZA System, handlers were right in with or behind the cattle, which put them in a precarious situation. Cattle would kick out, try to bolt backwards, sometimes hurting themselves and their handlers. Broken bones and even deaths occurred in this close intense, high risk situation. This is the only system in the cattle industry that offers this type of safety. Owners of the Moly FZA system often note that the cost of one workman’s comp claim will pay for the entire system.
The FZA Solution System may include Moly’s TurretGate, Circular Fencing, Hydraulic Loading Chute, Dual and Single Alleys, Transitions and SILENCER Chutes. In essence, this is a true Solution System that protects both cattle and handlers.
TurretGate is an advanced gate design that shuttles back through the Turret, re-positioning behind waiting animals. It eliminates the need to swing the gate back open into the waiting animals and virtually eliminates the need for humans to be in with the cattle. The gate is controlled remotely and keeps the operator completely out of the flight zone. This significantly reduces the stress on animals, compared to the old-style manual crowd gates that pressure the animals into smaller areas, increasing the animal’s stress. TurretGate helps keep the animals calm and the handlers safe. Moly’s hydraulic sort gates can easily be added and customized to an existing facility.
The FZA system is built to order, featuring easy installation and an optional anchoring system. The system is remote-controlled, easy to use and made from quality materials. Moly engineering will work with each producer to put the pieces together creating a system that meets that producer’s specific needs. Products may be purchased as separate components or as a complete system. Positive features of the FZA system include the following:
Reduced Stress on Animals - Humans are able to stay farther from the animal’s flight zone while animals flow through the Moly FZA system without added pressure or the use of electric prods. The use of the remote control creates a low-stress area for animals and humans.
Safety – Use of remote control virtually eliminates contact with cattle in high impact areas
Less Labor Required – System requires less effort. It can be operated by remote, from a distance, by one person with little training and no cattle-handling experience.
Easy to Install and Use – System (optional anchoring) is easily installed and ready for use in as few as 4 hours.
When a producer realizes how easy, safe and efficient the Total System is, Leetch is there for support each step of the way. Jon Mollhagen, founder and owner of Moly Manufacturing, says, “Art has been a leader in building and installing this state-of-the-art system for several years, and he can install the entire system in a matter of two days. That’s Art’s specialty, building complete livestock facilities from start to finish. By using our in-house engineering team, it is so much faster and more cost effective than building it yourself.”
Leetch asserts that he and his staff will work with each producer to put the pieces together creating a total Solution System that meets all of their needs. Customers truly appreciate the extent of Leetch’s efforts. Lacy Cotter Vardeman of Slaton, TX talks about their purchase of the complete FZA system. “We had a great experience with A. L. SILENCER from the design stages thru the installation of our Complete FZA System. The best money we’ve ever spent.”
Jason Held of Atkinson, NE has made several purchases. “This is the best product and service that I’ve been around. We have a SILENCER on our ranches in Montana and Nebraska. Also purchased a portable to use between our Kansas and Nebraska locations. All our purchases have been money well spent.”
To learn more about the positives of the Complete FZA System, go to Leetch’s website (www.alsilencer.com) or call (308)215-0258.
You can also visit the Moly Manufacturing’s website for more details about the product features at www.molymfg.com or 785.472.3388.