Beef producers in Lambton County have been recognized for building a better chute that reduces stress on their cattle. Tony Noorloos and his family were presented with a regional Premier’s Award for Agri-food Innovation Excellence.
“We’re very honoured to receive that award. When we applied for it, we weren’t sure what to expect, but we’re very happy to receive it,” said Tony.
He said his father, John, began experimenting with a different style of chute about fifteen years ago.
Tony explained that hydraulic chutes equipped with side exits for the cattle were putting a lot of stress on the animals because they had to move backwards before walking out.
There were also many noisy linkages in the system that also made the animals anxious.
Looking for a better way, John built a chute about twelve years ago to allow the cattle to exit from the front. In the last few years, Tony became more involved with the development, helping to fine-tune the system.
Unlike other front-exiting systems that have a V-opening, the Noorloos’ chute is “squarer”, allowing easier movement for the cattle.
“With the V-opening, the bottom would stay tight, with the top part open, which restricted the movement of the cattle,” said Noorloos, noting the animals were required to step over the V-shaped opening.
Besides reducing stress, it also improves the efficiency of the operation. Noorloos said the chute, which is currently working in six different feedlots, can handle 1,100 cattle in one day.
Tony and his family farm near Sarnia. They are certified Ontario Corn Fed Beef producers, marketing about 2,500 head per year through the program.
“We do think it’s important to push the local concept and get consumers purchase locally-grown beef,” Noorloos said. “We think the Corn Fed program provides a good quality product to the consumer.”