Beef barns of all types are becoming more common in the upper Midwest. This includes northwest Iowa and the surrounding three states, where mono-slope buildings have become especially prevalent, and southwest Iowa, where hoop buildings are more popular, notes Beth Doran, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist.
Part of the reason for the increased interest is environmental. Producers want a facility that helps them manage manure runoff. In addition, manure is sheltered from the rain, preventing it from being diluted, so producers may have more value in the nutrients in that manure. Cattle performance, which varies depending on the weather, is also a factor. "In periods of rain and muddy conditions, there are benefits to a building and concrete that keep cattle out of the mud," Doran says, "Animal comfort also plays a role – keeping cattle dry, keeping cattle comfortable, and avoiding heat stress."
Questions to be answered
However, Doran says there is still a lot to be learned about these barns. "We're in the infancy on the research," she says. "We're really kind of on the forefront right now in terms of learning about these buildings for cattle." Producers are curious about management topics like getting the most value out of manure, optimal width of a building for adequate manure agitation, and improving air flow and quality. "We know how to build those buildings. The question now is 'how do you manage them best?'" she adds. "If you don’t know how to maintain your car, you won't get the best out of it, and the same is true with these buildings."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
To answer questions like these and share current research findings, a one-day "Beef Facilities Conference" will be held November 21 at the Best Western Plus Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The conference is a cooperative effort of ISU Extension and Outreach, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, South Dakota State University, USDA Agricultural Research Service and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. "The purpose of the conference is two-fold," Doran says. "Morning sessions feature environmental research with these facilities; afternoon sessions focus on building management and cattle performance."
Morning sessions include results of the two-year air emissions study in mono-slope barns, air quality regulations and how to capture, manage and use nutrients produced in beef barns. The two-year air emissions study looked at the emissions of gases and dust and is one of the first studies looking at air quality in these barns. Presenters in the morning are: Erin Cortus, assistant professor at SDSU; Mindy Spiehs, research animal scientist at USDA, ARS, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center; Rick Stowell, associate professor at UNL; Kris Kohl, ISU Extension and Outreach ag engineering program specialist; and Angie Rieck-Hinz, extension program specialist at Iowa State.
Afternoon sessions include two panels – a producer panel on facility management in different style barns and a university panel on cattle performance. The panels will cover wide mono-slope, narrow mono-slope, hoops, slatted floor deep-pit barns, and open lots. The university panel includes Robbi Pritchard, distinguished professor at SDSU; Dan Loy, director of the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State; Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension and Outreach ag engineering program specialist; and Russ Euken, ISU Extension and Outreach livestock program specialist.
The conference is tailored to feedlot producers, beef consultants, building contractors, engineers and consultants, state and federal agency staff, and extension and university professionals. Registration is $40 if registered by November 14. Students receive a $15 discount. Fees will increase $20 after November 14 for all participants. For more information on the conference, registration materials, and potential sponsorship, visit the Agriculture and Natural Resources Events page on the ISU Extension website.