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Slippery Slope

04/08/2014 @ 2:13pm

As a third-generation farmer and feedlot operator, Dale Goetz was no stranger to watching cattle slip and slide across slick concrete surfaces.

“Animals tend to panic if they slip even a little bit. Alternatives like grooved concrete can still become slick and can even cause hoof damage in some cases,” says Goetz.” My wife, Dena, and I had a feedlot and wanted a product that would provide stability and comfort for cattle in our processing area. We also wanted to reduce the number of losses due to cattle slipping.”

In 1995, the Park, Kansas, couple began making anti-fatigue floor mats using sidewalls from used tires and discarding the treads. It didn’t take them long to realize that the discarded material could be recycled into a solution for the slippery slopes their livestock were encountering.

“Our Double D mats reduce slipping in truck loading ramps, alleyways, tubs, snakes, and right outside the chute, which calms animals and provides a safer, quieter, and calmer working area for both cattle and their handlers,” says Goetz.

Mat makeup

The mats are made by weaving together discarded tire treads and then fastening them with stainless steel bolts. 

“The woven pattern catches and stops hooves from slipping under the lower edges of snakes, pens, and gates,” Goetz says.

You can choose from four styles: Baler Belt, Cattle Mat, Carriage Bolt, and Solid Rubber.

“I recommend Baler Belt mats for scales, trailers, and other places with light traffic,” says Goetz. “They don’t last as long as Cattle Mats, but they are lighter weight and more affordable.”

Cattle Mats are recommended for most other uses, including outside squeeze chutes, alleyways, tubs, snakes, and truck unloading ramps.

Carriage Bolt mats are fastened with carriage rather than the larger stainless steel bolts in the other mats. “These smaller bolts are safer for small livestock, such as hogs,” he explains.

The Solid Rubber mats are best suited for areas where you will stand for long periods of time. Ten standard sizes are kept in stock, which can be shipped the next day, in most cases. Mats can also be made to order. 

“We can build custom mats to any dimension,” says Goetz. “We even build curved mats for snakes and tubs.”

Mats are priced by the square foot and fluctuate based on size, freight, and tire cost.

“A lot of our customers process 500 to 750 head a day. To throw one of our mats down in front of a chute costs less than $500,” says Goetz. 

“One of our mats will last you three to five years. If you run 390,000 to 585,000 head across the mat in just three years, it costs less than a penny per head. At that rate, you might find it risky to not install mats.”

The Baler Belt and Carriage Bolt mats weigh 4 pounds per square foot. The Cattle Mat weighs 5.5 pounds, and the Solid Rubber version weighs 3.14 pounds per square foot. 

If you need to move a mat, simply place the Double D Mat Hook (also developed by Goetz) under the mat’s tire treads and lift. At 3 feet long, the Hook is made from a ³∕8-inch steel rod with a handle on one end and a hook on the other. 

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