1. For The Cattle
Providing a safe and comfortable environment for your cattle removes stresses that directly affect your pocketbook. Limiting the number of high stress days – whether rain, heat or snow – allows you to forecast finishing days and define efficiencies. Utilizing all of the natural resources that we have is vital to our efficiency. Ask any cattleman the most important issue in keeping a calf healthy and he will say, “A dry calf is a healthy calf.” We must utilize and manage the sun, the wind and the precipitation to our advantage. Choosing a structure that captivates this is essential. See more information on our cattle buildings throughout this site.
2. For The Land
Confining cattle has obvious advantages over dirt lots (especially in wet times), but one of the less obvious rewards is providing a year-round, consistent manure fertilizer that is 100% contained and captured. In a confinement barn, whether slatted floor or dry stack, 100% of the manure remains in the building until you decide to remove it for application or storage. Typically, confined manure has higher Nitrogen value as nutrients are not lost in runoff and exposure to sunlight is less than open-lot.
3. For The Water
Undoubtedly, the driving force behind the regulatory side of beef production is the protection of our water. Unfortunately, a few have been irresponsible and the result has been an abundance of regulation for everyone relying on beef as a source of income. Obviously, 100% containment is not only the goal; it is the requirement. As a producer, you are faced with the decisions of NPDES or no NPDES; earthen 25-year structures or total confinement. Obtaining a proper CNMP and MMP with soil sampling are no longer optional; they are requirements. A mono-slope structure diverts all rainwater to an isolated position, so it can be handled without contamination. Protecting the north side of the building with a high-quality curtain limits the amount of precipitation entering the building and protects the bed pack.
4. For Our Image
Unfortunately, several of the other meat producers in our communities have lost the favor of the public. Many times this was due to errant reporting and isolated instances. Cattlemen still have a positive image in many circles, but we are being threatened by a lot of the same issues our friends in the pork and poultry industries faced. How we deal with our image directly impacts the marketability of our product. With the speed of information, we need to be careful what information is being spread. What our consumers see when they drive by our feed yards is vitally important. Consider the pork industry: how long has it been since you’ve seen market weight hogs outside? The push of the regulators is a similar battle; our species is fundamentally different. We must be diligent to protect our image as producers – demonstrating our commitment to our product, the land, the water…being responsible.
5. For Our Future
Our future depends on our profitability. As you consider a confinement building, the cost, the durability and, most importantly the return on investment, must be considered. What will your facility be worth in 10, 20 or even 40 years? How have you set up for your successor? A mono-slope, wood-steel combination building is the longest life cattle structure on the market. Typically in life, we get what we pay for; the cheap option is the lowest quality and the highest price option is the highest quality. The surprising reality in cattle confinements is that this is not necessarily the case. Because of some structure manufacturer marketing campaigns and skewed science, they offer an inferior product at a premium.