Understanding the ROI of Cattle Buildings
Bill Rubis of TenCorp, INC swings in studio as a much requested guest to educate us on all things cattle feeding facilities. We talk everything from open lots to deep pitted barns. Hang on through the end of the episode as we talk about the supply chain and future of beef processing as well!
Bill Rubis – Vice President at TenCorp, INC In 2010, they designed and built our first deep-pit cattle barn.
Exploring the profitability of feeding cattle in confinement settings.
As the cattle production industry has evolved over the years, there has been a significant shift to feeding cattle indoors.Just like no two cattle operations are the same, confinement buildings come in all shapes and sizes. Typically, they can be divided into a few broad categories.
One major difference is the manure handling style:
- In deep-pit buildings the cattle are on concrete slats (usually covered with rubber mats) and manure is stored underneath the building and pumped annually
- With bed-pack buildings there is usually a concrete or earthen floor that is covered with bedding (most commonly shredded cornstalk bales).
The other key feature is the roof shape. Cattle buildings usually have one of three roof types:
- Hoop (a curved roof usually covered by a canvas fabric)
- Mono-slope (where one eave is higher than the other)
- Gable (a traditional peaked roof).
- Mono-slope and gable roofed buildings can be made out of both wood and steel.
Why should our listeners look into confinement feeding for cattle?
- Feed Conversion
- Why better?
- Consistent feed intake
- Space or Sq Ft
- More valuable manure
What are some draw backs from confinement feeding?
- Large capital investment
- Anything else?
Let’s now look more indepth to the types of barns you build the most of – the deep-pit barn. What are some benefits over others?
The benefits of this type of deep-pit cattle barn include:
- Reduction in labor expenses: 0.14 hours vs. 0.38 hours in a bed-pack confinement (per head-space/year)
- Elimination of bedding expenses
- Reduction of building size: stocking density of 22 sf (in a slatted barn), vs. 40 sf (in bed pack)
- Reduction in manure management expenses – only requires 1 pump/year
- Is this true?
- Increased manure nutrient levels
- Increased cattle comfort
What are the features of TenCorp, Inc. Standard Barns:
- Gable Roof Structure
- With properly designed ridge openings and sidewall height, the gable roof structure provides the ideal ventilation for cattle in every season. Fresh air is drawn in from both sides of the building, and is pulled through the open ridge due to the “stack effect”.
- Wood-Framed Structure
- The wood-framed structure provides superior strength for the cattle barn. The roof system includes 1/2″ plywood and felt paper above the purlins. This eliminates condensation issues that are common with metal building systems.
- The pen sizes are designed to ensure that the cattle are housed as efficiently as possible, while still maintaining adequate bunk space for access to feed.
- Why does pen size matter?
- How do we determine pen and barn size?
- How do we determine bunk space?
- How do we determine the amount of water access?
Now cattle feeders don’t just need a good confinement to maximize their efficiency.We also need to be able to provide top quality feed to the cattle. Why is this important?
Every cattle production site needs to be able to properly store commodities for use in their operation.
- TenCorp, Inc. provides storage solutions for every size of operation — from silage pads, to commodity sheds.
- Pads-A simple, yet effective solution allows producers to stockpile grain for future use.
- Bunkers allow more grain to be stored in a smaller area.
- TenCorp, Inc. works with our customers to determine:
- Storage capacity needs
- Ideal width, based on daily usage
- Length of bunker required
- Bunker options included poured-in-place walls, or pre-cast panels.
- Commodity sheds provide storage capacity for the feed stock needed for mixing in the daily feed rations.
- Our commodity sheds are overbuilt, in order to withstand the day-to-day use required for feeding cattle.
- Shed features 8-foot concrete base walls, with 10-foot framed walls above. This provides ample head-height for loading equipment.
- The number of storage bays and sizes are modified in order to meet our customers’ needs.
What else are we missing for our listeners to learn or know about feeding cattle in confinements?
What’s the useful life of the buildings?
How do we work around regulations locally getting permits to build these?
What does the future of EPA regulations or methane emissions look like for farmers?
- Does this include the use of aerobic digesters?
- Are we working to help the processing end of the cattle industry?
- Any new plants going up or planned to go up?
What does being successful mean to you?