Cattlemen's College attendees received some hands-on education Tuesday night on stockmanship at the Florida fairgrounds from livestock handling experts Curt Pate and his daughter Mesa Pate.
"The colt-starting people have learned a lot about putting pressure on and taking it off," Curt Pate said. "We in the beef industry can make the same change. We have a responsibility in training that cow and steer to be handled no matter where they are going."
Demonstrating with a pen of fractious yearling Brahman bulls, the Pates worked both on horseback and on foot to show the over 300 people the principles of quiet handling and getting the cattle to go where they wanted them to.
"You need to get the leaders to lead the group where you want them to go and for the stragglers, give them the idea to change their mind and find the gate. Work their nose and their head."
Cattle in pens also need to be exercised, Pate said. "Working them through the chute is a good way to exercise them and it also helps get them acclimated to the chute." The Pates, who have worked with a lot of bucking bulls, has used this method with those bulls and says it works great as a way to exercise and train them to the chute.
"We need to train our cattle for the biggest jobs of their lives like getting bred and having calves or gaining weight in the feedlot," he said. "Handling really helps."
The 2013 NCBA Cattlemen's College was sponsored by Zoetis.