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Tips for low-stress livestock feeding

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Safe and effective cattle handling has always been important. In the last few years there has been a move toward what has been called low-stress livestock handling.

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  The role of a stockman is to create movement in cattle and then use position to control and manage that movement to the desired result. When cattle lose movement, they become reluctant to work for you, and excessive pressure and driving aids are more likely to be used to force movement within the cattle. Creating and managing movement is the key to low-stress cattle handling.

There are four basic principles of cattle behavior that when used properly can improve the ease and speed of working cattle while reducing stress and increasing efficiency. Those principles are:

1. Cattle want to see you.

2. Cattle want to go around you.

3. Cattle want to be with, and will go to other cattle.

4. Cattle can think of only one thing at a time.

To provide greater training for area farmers and ranchers, the University of Minnesota Extension Service is hosting a series of Facility Design and Cattle Handling Clinics in northwest Minnesota on Oct. 13-14  Using low stress cattle handling techniques, nationally acclaimed cattle handling experts Curt Pate and Ron Gill will show producers ways to work more cattle in less time and give insight on training cattle to respond to handling in a more positive manner.

The event is focused on proven methods and ideas for low cost livestock handling facilities that will ensure results that improve cattle performance and beef quality.

As a rancher, Curt Pate practices what he preaches in his clinics. This Montana native's methods clearly support a cattlemen's "for profit" attitude as he understands the increase economic benefits of handling cattle correctly. Curt's experience includes time spent as an auctioneer, rodeo announcer, horseman and technical advisor for Hollywood. Curt currently ranches in South Dakota.

As a lifelong cattleman and Texas A&M Livestock Specialist, Ron Gill brings a wealth of experience to cattle handling and facility design for beef producers. Ron continues to operate a commercial cow/calf and yearling operation and is nationally recognized and respected for his knowledge and instruction in cattle handling, management and beef quality assurance practices.

These workshops will be held at four locations:

Monday, Oct. 13: Warroad, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Knebel Red Angus Farm

(south of Highway 11 on 610th Avenue); Lancaster, 6:30-9 p.m., Dean's Lancaster Family Diner.

Tuesday, Oct. 14: Bagley, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Bagley Livestock Exchange; Thief River Falls, 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m., City Auditorium.

Daytime clinics will feature "hands on" demonstrations at the sites, while evening clinics will be held classroom style, using visual aids.

The registration fee, meals and educational materials are free due to the gracious contributions from local businesses, state sponsors and hosts. Pre-registration is requested five days prior to the event for planning of meals, materials and to receive driving directions to the site.

For more information, driving directions to the site or to register, call or send e-mail to University of Minnesota Extension Beef Center at 218-3274490, or online: extension.umn.edu/beef.

Clinics are sponsored by the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Source: OSU and University of Minnesota.

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