The 5 Ps To Add Efficiency Chute Side
By Kindra Gordon
Bowie, Texas, veterinarian Arn Anderson was charged with explaining effective Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) protocols chuteside during an Angus University workshop Nov. 5 at the 2017 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. About 250 people gathered to hear his advice. A veterinarian since 1991, Anderson has been practicing at Cross Timbers Veterinary Hospital in Bowie for 15 years.
“If you don’t know BQA, shame on you. Learn it,” he told those in the audience. “Today we are going to focus on BQA etiquette around the chute that will make you more efficient. … You will live longer, be better at processing cattle, and be a better rancher.”
Anderson asked the audience to look at a cattle chute on display in the arena.
“It has a lot of steel and a lot of moving parts. A lot can go wrong.” he noted. Thus, it is important to recognize five Ps to bring efficiency to processing cattle:
1. Purpose. “Determine what is your purpose when you are working cattle for the day. Then communicate and make sure everyone involved knows that purpose,” Anderson said. “Are you preg-checking cows, vaccinating calves? I advise you to keep it simple. Don’t do too many things in one day.”
2. Plan. Anderson advises making a list of everything that will be needed to accomplish the purpose — from double-checking that the chute hydraulics are working to ensuring you have enough product if something gets spilled. He shared stories of days gone awry when appropriate planning hadn’t occurred by the producer.
3. People. A “boss for the day at the chute” must be identified, Anderson emphasized. “This helps reduce arguments, especially between husbands and wives.” Anderson said the boss may not be the owner. The role might be delegated to someone else; and the selected “chute boss” might change from one workday to another. The important thing is to identify who the boss is, communicate that with everyone, and that person is in charge for the day.
“Surround yourself with good people who know what they are doing when you are working cattle,” he emphasized. “Otherwise people can get hurt.”
4. Pay Attention. “You need to understand you are working in a situation that is inherently dangerous,” Anderson stated. He underscored that all workers should put their cell phones away and stay focused while working cattle.
5. Politeness. Lastly, Anderson emphasized being polite, saying: “If you get angry at the cattle or the guy running the chute, or the veterinarian, what happens? ... Your ability to work cattle goes out the window.” He encouraged keeping hot shots away from the chute, to reduce the risk of getting angry and grabbing one. “At our vet clinic, we put them away. If you decide to use one, you’ve got to go get it, which gives time for you and the animal to cool down.”
He added: “Remember that someone is always watching you and that you sell beef. Be polite.”
As an additional P, one audience member suggested adding “patience” to the list. Anderson agreed, saying, “Patience is the summary of everything we’ve talked about. If you remember the 6 Ps — purpose, plan, people, pay attention, politeness and patience, your ability to efficiently process cattle will be greatly enhanced.”
Editor’s Note: This article was written under contract for or by staff of the Angus Journal as part of Angus Media’s coverage of the 2017 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 4-6. For permission to reprint, please contact editor Shauna Rose Hermel at 816-383-5270 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For complete coverage of the event, visit www.angus.org/Media/News/AngusConvention.aspx