It's an idea that is bound to catch on: a squeeze chute you can operate by remote control.
Daniels Manufacturing of Ainsworth, Neb., brought the new product to Husker Harvest Days, and said he will soon add a feature that will enable cattlemen to listen to the lungs of animals while they are in the chute, a big step toward early detection of respiratory problems.
"Probably 80 to 90 percent of all feedlot cattle deaths come from some kind of respiratory illness," he said. "This will help find early signs when there's still time to treat for it and save the animal."
Dan Daniels, the company owner, said Daniels Manufacturing was started by his father more than 50 years ago and he still follows his dad's example in inventing and manufacturing products that help farmers and ranchers do their jobs better.
The remote control chute has a decidedly different look than the standard chutes because it is missing a lot of the familiar hand control squeeze mechanisms. It comes with a hard-wired control system that can is magnetized so it can be mounted anywhere on the chute to provide manual control in the event the remote stops working.
Daniels said since he first started showing it to feedlots this spring, he has developed a waiting list of customers who want it and that Cactus Feeders in western Kansas has already installed nine of them.
"It is also really popular with the dairy guys for use in pregnancy checks," he said. "They can mount the manual control inside the chute and operate it from inside as they do the check."
Another advantage is the quiet operation of the chute, which opens and closes with more of a quiet "thunk" than the familiar bang.
Daniels said a feedlot model of the chute with "all the toys" retails for about $15,000.
"We aren't the cheapest chute out there. We go for the best quality, not the most quantity."