Ohio State ATI will dedicate its new beef cattle handling facility on Friday, Oct. 12, from 1-3 p.m., with remarks at 2 p.m. All members of the Ohio beef industry who are interested in seeing the facility and learning more about it are welcome to attend.
ATI worked with Grandin Livestock Handling Systems Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo., to construct a facility designed by renowned animal behavioristTemple Grandin. The new facility will meet the needs of both Ohio State ATI and beef producers around Ohio. This progressive design includes a corral, a dual chute system with a hydraulic squeeze chute and breeding box, and sorting pens.
One of the distinctive features of Grandin's design is a system of curved chutes combined with a round crowd pen. (Check out pictures of similar systems here.) (There’s a 2010 HBO movie about Grandin. Watch the trailer (video, 1:52).)
The tendency of cattle when herded is to move back in the direction they came from. The round pen moves the cattle through a 180-degree turn, thus working with rather than against their natural behavior.
The curved chutes allow the cattle to see two or three animal lengths ahead, which is important because, according to Grandin, "cattle will refuse to go somewhere if they can't see a place to go." The curved design also conceals livestock handlers, whose presence might make cattle balk.
Together, these measures reduce the amount of stress cattle experience during handling.
Each year, approximately 45 students are welcomed into one of two beef cattle programs at Ohio State ATI: associate of applied science inlivestock management and associate of science inlivestock science. Students enrolled in these programs are preparing themselves for careers in beef production and its associated industries, with many of them striving to be progressive beef cattle managers.
With the new facility, the Ohio State ATI beef programs are teaching students more about safe animal handling and the benefits of designing livestock handling facilities based on animal behavior rather than human convenience.
"Efficiency, humane handling, and animal welfare are essential components of any beef operation," said ATI Director of Farm Operations Mark Schleppi. "This design will facilitate each of these."
In addition to teaching the next generation of beef producers with this new working facility, ATI also hopes to welcome current beef industry members to learn more about beef cattle handling through training that will be offered to industry through ATI's Business Training and Educational Services program.
The new beef facility is located off Apple Creek Road near Wooster. For directions, clickhere.
-- France Whited, ATI