Deciding on the ideal cattle housing requirements of your farm ahead of the calving season
As commercial cattle farming operations battle volatile business climates, ensuring the well-being of the herd and ensuring herd health become top priorities—especially during critical periods, such as the calving season, that many farms are preparing to head into by March.
Adequate cattle housing is crucial to providing a comfortable and secure environment for both birthing cows and their newborn calves. This is vital as the success levels in calving can have many future implications on the performance and returns of the farming operation.
It is also noteworthy that more modern modular livestock housing options, such as Agri Span (an industry leader in housing cattle, newborn calves, sheep, goats, and any other livestock) excel and outperform traditional calf housing even in applications such as calving by providing the optimal high-welfare environments that are highly conducive to ensuring healthy growth and higher yields.
In this blog post, we will explore the key considerations and steps involved in deciding on the ideal cattle housing requirements for your farm, specifically focusing on selecting the ideal structure for your cattle farming operation to elevate preparations ahead of the calving season.
Why is cattle housing a vital requirement for optimal success during the calving season?
Cattle housing plays a pivotal role in protecting birthing cows and newborn calves from the elements while also seamlessly maintaining the health and productivity of your herd. Optimal cattle housing can help farms save on treatment costs and minimise losses from calf mortality.
Proper cattle housing provides protection from adverse weather conditions, minimises stress, and creates a safe space for calving. This is vital for promoting healthy growth among young calves and securing better yields from calving.
Before delving into specific cattle housing requirements of your farm, it’s essential to grasp the broader significance of investing in proper housing for your cattle. Agri Span provides the ultimate spaces to rear newborn calves, shelter birthing cows, and provide high-welfare housing for the entire herd.
“You get a really good airflow around the Agri Span so it’s reduced the risk of pneumonia and the calves look a lot more comfortable and happy.”
What are the key considerations for deciding on cattle housing requirements on your farm?
The performance in each of the following areas for all of the eligible structures for cattle housing will determine the ideal shelter that will meet the specific needs of your farm:
- Space and layout
The first step in determining the ideal cattle housing option is to assess the size and layout of your farm. Consider the number, breed, and makeup of cattle in your herd and their specific needs.
A well-designed layout should be spacious and facilitate easy movement, feeding, and monitoring of the animals. Adequate space allocation is crucial to prevent overcrowding, which can lead to increased stress and potential health issues that can hinder growth rates among calves. The modularity of Agri Span enables farms to tailor the layout of the multi-bay or standalone structure to optimise space utilisation on the farm.
The spacious interiors offer abundant space to ensure the comfort of animals while also offering ample access for personnel to clean the interiors or monitor the herd. Its relocatability also allows farms to change the layout to better accommodate changing requirements.
- Ventilation and air quality
Proper ventilation is crucial to maintaining good air quality within cattle housing. Stale air can lead to respiratory issues, increased risk of diseases, and increased stress among the animals. Features such as adjustable vents, fans, or open sides in barns can ensure a constant flow of fresh air.
However, utilising natural means of airflow is the most efficient and cost-effective option and only a few cattle houses can offer the very best air quality. Agri Span has been designed to create the ideal, ventilated environment for calves. The sides of the structure are made from a heavy-duty mesh material that allows fresh air to pass through the structure. Thus, a constant stream of natural airflow reduces a build-up of pathogens, dust and gases.
Adequate ventilation becomes particularly vital during the calving season when the risk of respiratory complications is higher and Agri Span effectively uses the ‘stack effect’ to create the best possible airflow—meaning hot, old air is allowed to rise out of the building while it’s replaced with fresh, cool air to optimise the well-being of the herd housed within.
- Separation and isolation areas for calving
Customisability in penning off dedicated areas within the structure for calving where the birthing cows and newborn calves are separated from the rest of the herd is an essential step in reducing injuries and maintaining optimal health.
This allows for areas where farmers can lay out bedding with better insulation in line with the needs of the calving process as well as to rapidly monitor and swiftly take action as and when their attention is required.
Agri Span offers spacious interiors that can be easily penned off in any arrangement that best suits the needs of the calving process or the requirements of the farm. Customers who have used the Agri Span for calving have reported faster growth rates, fewer diseases, reduced antibiotic usage, and healthier calves. Agri Span has resulted in the cows growing much faster and getting off the farm sooner, saving farms like Nower Dairy money, time, and labour.
Speak to an expert at McGregor to guide you in identifying the exact cattle housing requirements of your farm
Our teams of specialists have helped commercial cattle farms across the UK for over four decades in swiftly deploying the ultimate shelter for cattle housing and calving—Agri Span. Reach out to our team and explore the best layout for your farm ahead of the upcoming calving season.
We can assist you in integrating the best setup that meets all of the specific cattle housing requirements on your farm for an investment that will maximise results and yields from your cattle farming operation for decades into the future.