Wrangler moving from strength to strength
It has been estimated that every lame cow costs between $800 and $1200 in lost production, extra labour, higher empty rates, and treatment costs - a cost a farmer simply doesn't need.
It is therefore important that any lame cows are checked and treated at the first sign of lameness, and The Wrangler has been enabling farmers to quickly, easily, and safely assess a suspect hoof since 1995.
Directors Wilco and Waverley Klein-Ovink were dairy farmers in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and regularly encountered situations where lame cows needed their hooves treated. Waverley, often drew the short straw to restrain the cow's hoof.
"It could be extremely dangerous at times and led to a few near misses and a lot of tension. We figured there had to be a better way" Waverley said.
"I had used a crush in Germany but could find nothing in New Zealand for treating lame cows. Here our requirements are different to in the UK, Europe, and America where cows are housed indoors," Wilco said.
"Europeans trim each hoof of the whole herd periodically as they do not wear them down with walking. We treat problems hooves - a few cows, little and often.
"That means we need something in the yard, available at all times without requiring constant greasing and maintenance, able to withstand the elements, and versatile enough to be used for all animal health handling requirements."
The Wrangler has been improved and perfected over time, and has become such a popular product that the business is in the process of moving to bigger and better premises nearby.
"We now have nine staff at peak time, which is just before calving" Waverley said.
Wilco said staff were "tripping over themselves" at the moment, with many orders to fulfill and not enough space to do so comfortably.
"The new premises will mean a better production flow, and great surroundings to work in," he said.
What started as a tool to safely treat lameness now has other applications: the Wrangler is now a popular choice with vets performing Caesareans on cows.
The Wrangler is also getting high profile attention: one of the seven Agri-Skills events held a the 2011 National Bank Young Farmer Contest was loading a cow into a Pro Wrangler and checking her hooves.
"It really confirmed to us that the Wrangler is becoming standard farming practice," Wilco said.
"The biggest compliment is that 'Wrangler' has become vernacular for a cattle crush."
The Wrangler is also adding the Ride Over Gate to its range.
Invented by Phil MacDonald, the Ride Over Gate is easy to push over with the ATV but still totally stock proof. Winner of the National Fieldays 2011 James and Wells Patent Attorney Award, the Ride Over Gate makes it easy to cruise the farm or move mobile calf feeders or irrigators.