Feedlot covers are definitely the way of the future!
There has been increased demand for shade and shelter for Australian beef and lamb feedlots.
This has been driven by initiatives such as the Australian Lot Feeders Associations’ shade policy and also by producers wanting to take advantage of the many benefits the infrastructure provides.
The plethora of benefits of feedlot covers include increased weight gain and quicker finishing of livestock and improved labour efficiencies.
Feedlot covers also present an excellent opportunity to improve animal welfare and your social license.
Are you looking to capitalise on these benefits in your operation? Planning a lamb feedlot cover project?
The recently completed lamb feedlot cover at Byaduk in Western Victoria can provide some excellent learnings, particularly when it comes to animal comfort and the impact it has on animal performance.
Keep reading to learn about the project.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Capacity: Approx. 2000 lambs
Build Date: 2022
Location: Byaduk VIC
Here are some of the key design features and considerations of the project.
- The custom roof design uses a combination of a 15-degree roof pitch and a 1200mm ACTION pop-top ridge vent to ensure effective ventilation and airflow through the cover.
- A fully enclosed wall provides effective protection from the prevailing weather. A sliding door ensures the cover is still easily accessible from this side and can be opened for additional airflow.
During the winter months, lambs under the cover put on about 150 grams more per day compared to those without shelter!
- A feedlot roof provides an excellent opportunity to capture, store and reuse stormwater. The ACTION custom gutter system has been plumbed to each end of the cover so that downpipes are not required down the face of the columns where they could be damaged.
- The base of the columns have been formed up to help minimise any sharp edges that may potentially injure the livestock. This also helps keep the columns out of the bedding material.
- A height of six metres is a recommended height for a feedlot cover as it provides good airflow and adequate clearance for machinery accessing the cover.
There are a number of really impressive achievements of this lamb feedlot cover.
- One of the most significant achievements is the impact on weight gain. During the winter months, lambs under the cover put on about 150 grams more per day compared to those without shelter!
- The wide centre access lane makes feeding more labour efficient, reduces feed wastage and creates a low-stress environment. If side feed lanes are the best fit for your operation, consider installing canopies over the feed bunks to reduce feed wastage and also to avoid inconvenient column placement.
- With an annual average of 550mm rainfall, the cover has the potential to capture around 1,518,000 litres of rainwater annually. This can be reused in the feedlot operation reducing costs, helping to provide a secure water supply and contributing to the long-term sustainability of the feedlot.
- The cover also helps keep the sheep in the best possible condition for the end users such as the processor.
We hope this project has provided you with some ideas and inspiration for your feedlot cover project!
If you are planning a similar project, here are some useful resources.
- How Much Does It Cost To Build A Feedlot Cover?
- What Is The ALFA Shade Policy?
- What Are The Advantages Of Covering Cattle Yards?
For more articles visit our Learning Hub. To discuss your project in more detail, or for more information on best-practice feedlot cover design, talk to one of our building consultants.