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….
The 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 which also makes for easy storage.
Here’s a video showing how it works:
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.
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!
Thanks to the National Grazing Lands Coalition for making this article possible. Click on over to see the great work they do for all of us. Thank them for supporting On Pasture by liking their facebook page.