A tool to make livestock hauling simple won the grand prize Ag Innovations competition.
Earlier this week, Opend Range Ltd. took home a $20,000 prize for its COWGO loading chute during the Agri-Trade Equipment Expo at Westerner Park in Red Deer.
“I’ve owned cattle for 30 years and have farmed and ranched since I could walk,” said Doug Green, owner of Opend Range Ltd., which is based out of Daysland, east of Camrose.
“We built this to fill a niche because there’s nothing else in the market like it. It’s always been a problem for a long, long time: truckers and liners show up in the field and there’s no loading chute so they can’t unload.”
Green said he ran into this problem while he was in the custom hauling industry.
“As you’re driving miles at night, driving cattle to feed lots, you’ve got a lot of time to think,” Green said.
“I worked on this idea in my mind, then worked on it with friends at a welding shop … and we came up with this idea.”
Green used the COWGO loading chute commercially for two years to test it out.
“It surpassed what we hoped it would do. I’ve hauled in blizzards, I’ve hauled in rain storms, I’ve hauled in all kinds of conditions and it always worked,” said Green.
A video was playing at the company’s booth that showed the chute in action. While filming that video, it was -32 C outside.
“They work great. It’s solid and can take the pressure. It’s the only one of its kind that can load and unload cattle and it folds up right onto the side of the trailer,” he said.
“It only takes a minute to set it up and take it down. It’s all aluminum, it’s lightweight and only weighs roughly 860 pounds.”
Winning the Ag Innovations competition was “really exciting,” said Green.
“We’re just a simple little outfit. We had some great competition we were competing against – they were technicians and really nice people. I was quite surprised and humbled by winning,” he said.
The other Ag Innovations finalists were ATP Nutrition, Precision AI, Prairie Grain Analyzers Inc. and SeedMaster Manufacturing. Precision AI was the winner of the $5,000 Farmer’s Choice Award during the competition.
This was the 14th year of the Ag Innovations program.
For more information on the business and its COWGO loading chute, visit www.opendrange.com.