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Movable Shade to Go With Your Movable Fencing and Water

By   /  May 16, 2016  /  9 Comments

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Dairy Production Losses Due to Heat Stress

What does the lack of shade cost you? Probably 20% in weight gain and 20to 30% less milk production. Check out this article for the details on the effect on your bottom line.

Shade can solve a lot of problems. It can improve livestock grazing and production. Cattle without shade gain less weight and produce less milk than their cool counterparts. Fertility rates drop too. Shade also impacts productivity by changing where animals deposit manure, and how much of your pasture gets grazed.

But getting shade where you want it is a real problem. If your mobile shade is light enough to haul, it’s often not heavy enough to stay in place when the wind blows. If it’s heavy enough to withstand the weather, moving it becomes a pain. And making shade for all your cattle? Forget about it! Until now….

Horses pulling shade havenThe folks at Shade Haven decided that we should have movable shade to go with our movable fencing and water. So they designed what looks like an enormous sunbrella on wheels. It is light enough to be towed with an ATV or horse (or pulled by two strong people on level ground), yet will stand up to wind and sun. The canopy is 40 feet in diameter and covers over 1200 sq. ft., or about enough for 60 cows. When you’re ready to move it, it collapses into an area of less than 120 sq ft in a minute for easy storage.

Here’s a video showing how it works:

 

ShadehavenandcowsIn addition to better weight gain and milk production, you can use this movable shade to work with your cattle to boost pasture productivity.  For example, since cattle go where the shade goes, you could use its placement to selectively graze areas within paddocks that need more impact or more manure. Or you could simply spend less time worrying about which paddocks have shade and which don’t when you’re planning your pasture rotations.

But can you afford shade?

Buying a Shade Haven is a long-term investment, similar to any building. And like anything you purchase it needs to provide a return. What your return might be from providing more shade for your animals depends on where you are, how many days of hot weather you experience and more. But if you just take some of the figures from the article we wrote last year about the importance of shade, you can estimate your return on investment.

The folks at Shade Haven did some modeling for both beef and dairy cows to estimate production with and without shade under moderate (70 days above 80 degrees) and severe heat stress (30 days above 90). They used production figures derived from sources similar to the ones we’ve shared, to estimate improved gains or milk production. Using this information they estimate that your improved production would pay for the Shade Haven in 2 to 3 years.

Beef Shade Haven ROI

Dairy Shade Haven ROI

If you’re interested in learning more, visit the Shade Haven website. If you have other ideas for providing shade, do share in the comments below!

 

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  • Published: 7 months ago on May 16, 2016
  • By:
  • Last Modified: May 16, 2016 @ 10:25 pm
  • Filed Under: Money Matters

About the author

editor and contributor

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

9 Comments

  1. bill elkins says:

    My cows and I have used this mobile shader for 2 summers with great satisfaction. It also provides opportunity to experiment over-seeding spots (my hand, their hooves))with new forage seeds to see if they’ll grow.

  2. Oogie McGuire says:

    I’ve looked into that, I would love one, with an all black sheep breed we require shade. Unfortunately it cannot withstand our winds here. We have the same problem with most chicken tractor designs too, they blow over. Does anyone have a moveable shade system that will tolerate 60-90 mph winds? I need one that will work for a small breed of sheep (so close to the ground) and for chickens.

    • Kathy Voth says:

      Oogie, where do you live? Does the wind always blow that hard or is it periodic so you could temporarily remove or close a shade structure and then deploy it again when the winds die down? Just trying to get a handle on your needs so I can look around. 🙂

      • Oogie McGuire says:

        Western Colorado. We are on the edge of a mesa, we get winds daily, down valley in the evening, up valley at night. Peak winds can be 60+ mph gusts. We are not always here to remove a shade & we can get thunderstorms rolling in. Typical wind speeds are up to 30mph or so nearly every day. Lots of data here at our weather station site http://www.garvinmesaweather.com I’ve been considering some sort of trailer we pull with the tractor that is tall enough for the sheep to walk under but heavy enough not to flip over. Haven’t found anything suitable yet.

        • Vince Hundt says:

          I am one of the 3 people that designed and build the Shade Haven. We have over 60 in use from California to New York and absolutely zero have blown over in the wind. This was not a design that was dreamed up in the garage with a 6pack of beer. State of the art computer software correctly predicted that this structure can take winds of 60 mph and we have seen it and it does not move.

          • OogieM says:

            When I called the company and asked for infoI was told that it could not withstand our design requirements here which is for up to 90 mph winds. That is what all our solar panel installations, barns and houses must meet. Is that incorrect?

          • Vince Hundt says:

            Well 90 is quite a bit more than 60.
            I have not heard of any of our structures being exposed to anything over 60 and if winds that strong are anticipated it should be closed.
            We could design in the capability of the Shade Haven to be closed remotely. In fact, it could close automatically when winds exceed a pre-determined speed. But all these things increase cost and complexity.

          • OogieM says:

            Whenever I’ve asked here about wind engineering the standards are either less than 60mph or 60-90mph. We get thunderstorms, they can blow up in a moment and be done before you even have time to do anything and we can get one on our mesa but the town less than a mile away will be sunny and dry. I would like to look at the system again and will go get some more info. Perhaps a model that is shorter to the ground would help? Or one that has some outrigger posts, perhaps pound in T-posts? that might help keep it on the ground.

          • Vince says:

            If your primary application is sheep we could build one that would be closer to the ground.
            But I am afraid wind over 60 is more than we want to deal with.

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