During the development and compilation of this report, each of the experts interviewed was asked to provide us with 3 questions that their clients should ask when determining whether or not they should move forward with the solutions presented by the experts. Following are the questions the experts say need to be asked by the client and answered by the experts for each of the case studies presented in the September 2015 issue of Farm Equipment.
Questions & Answers by Maruice (Mo) Russell, Russell Consulting Group, Panora, Iowa.
1. Are the improved feed efficiency numbers consistent with others types of building, such as deep pit and hoop buildings?
Generally, we’ve seen similar improvements in feed efficiencies among the three main types of cattle barns — deep bedded, deep pit and hoop buildings.
In choosing a cattle facility, producers may want to consider other factors. For instance, the deep pit buildings have a manure pumping system instead of bedding, so cost more to build and maintain. However, the manure does not contain bedding materials and so has a higher value.
Hoop buildings are less expensive to construct than a metal-sided deep bedded building and the manure values are similar.
It comes down to your personal preferences. If properly managed, all three buildings can achieve similar efficiencies.
2. Are there any labor savings with the facility or is it similar?
The deep bedded cattle facility has similar labor requirements to an open lot. Both buildings require the removal of manure or manure with bedding. The deep pit may have less labor costs because the system pumps out the manure. However, the system requires additional management and maintenance.
I recommend producers not use labor savings as a deciding factor regarding the facilities.
3. What is the expected life of the facility?
The expected life of the deep bedded cattle facility, if it is maintained, is 25-40 years.
A new roof or roof repair could be possible related to weather damage. Also, gates may need to be repaired or retrofitted for a new configuration. Otherwise, outside of removing the bedding, the facility should require minimal maintenance.