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Woven Rubber Mats Reduce Slipping, Cripples

By Nancy Carver Singleton

Cattle that suffer a major injury by slipping or falling never fully recover. They never finish the same as their pen mates, and are often railed. But a company from Park, Kansas, has found a way to reduce slipping by providing better traction for cattle with rubber mats.

The Double D Family Mat Shop manufactures the Cattle-Mat, a rubber mat made from center tire tread woven into a basket-weave pattern. This weave catches and stops hoofs from slipping, reducing the number of falls and ultimately crippled cattle. Many customers tell Dale and Dena Goetz, who started the mat business in 1995, that the mats cut cripples by 95 percent.

Cattle-Mats are used in processing areas, crowd pens, ramps, snakes and walkways. Each tire tread is secured on both ends and fastened with stainless steel bolts, washers and nuts. Larger mats have 3/8" thick by 3" wide steel bar stock worked into edges to help retain the shape.

Doug Parham, assistant manager of Finney County Feedyard Inc., Garden City, Kansas, said Cattle-Mats have "pretty much eliminated" problems with cattle falling while coming out of a chute. The mats are long lasting and the feedyard is quick to replace them when they do wear out.

He estimated the feedyard first tried the mats seven years ago. "We keep using them, so you know we like them," Parham said.

Goetz is not aware of a product similar to Cattle-Mat. Some people put grooves into concrete to prevent slippage, but those also become slick when covered with manure. "This (mat) is a pretty unique solution. It was pretty simple once we figured out the design. We tried it and it worked very well," he said.

The couple combines their feedlot operation with an expanding line of mats. "Actually it works very well because when we come up with a product, we can test it in our own operation," Goetz said.

Cattle-Mat is the biggest seller, but Double D makes other mats as well. Their new cattle trailer mats are made from bailer belting to be lightweight. They have 7" wide 3-ply belting in a raised herringbone pattern that is fastened with stainless steel bolts, washers and nuts. The mats, also used in horse trailers, save wear on the trailer floor and give a quieter ride.
Double D also has anti-fatigue mats that help feedlot employees in wet and slippery areas, such as around chutes. The mats, made from tire sidewall strips, reduce the fatigue of standing on concrete for long periods of time. They can also be used in the bottom of horse trailers.

Then there are door mats, which are smaller versions of the anti-fatigue mats. "We sell those all over the place, not just to cattle people," he said. Another new product for cattle is a waterer made from heavy-duty industrial tires and six feet in diameter. It has a thermostat control, float control valve and overflow drain system.

The business provides a use for old tires, with Double D going through several hundred a week. A machine cuts the tread and the sidewall out of the tire, leaving the rim. The shop utilizes the whole tire - the sidewall for anti-fatigue mats, the tread for Cattle-Mats, and the sidewall with the bead attached. These are called Silo Cover Savers'and are sold to feedltos to hold silo covers down. The Silo Cover Savers are easy to move compared to the complete tire. They don't collect water and take up a lot less space than the complete tire to store.

For more information, call 888-377-2879 ©

 
 

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