SOLID-ROOF sheds or covered housing on feedlot pens have started to pique the interest of the industry, with studies looking into the effectiveness and consultants from the dairy industry fielding calls from lotfeeders.
Shade was top of the agenda on a webinar hosted by the Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA) today – which heard from a University of New England researcher looking into the production benefits and the dairy industry sharing some of its tips.
In 2018, ALFA made a target to have all its members install shade by 2026 – which covers about 80 percent of the industry. Beef Central understands the uptake of shade has been increasing, but construction has been slow with COVID-related supply chain difficulties.
Covered housing is used in a small number of feedlots and is common in the southern dairy industry where rain and boggy pens are more of an issue.
While the majority of lotfeeders have been using shade-cloth to cover pens, many are looking to take it further with discussion about installing covered housing. Eagle Direct, which designs sheds for the dairy industry, presented to the webinar and has been fielding some calls from lotfeeders.
University of New England researcher Dr Angela Lees has been studying the production benefits of installing shade. She found significant benefits to weight gains, carcass weight and animal welfare.
Meat & Livestock Australia feedlot and sustainability project manager Matthew Van der Saag said more work was under way to investigate shed roofs or covered housing.
“We’ve put some calls out to industry for three tenders and they are focused on solutions to make covered housing retrofitted to current feedlot pens,” Mr Van der Saag said.
“We’re also looking at developing best practice management guidelines for fully covered feedlot systems.”
- More on Dr Angela Lees research on Beef Central tomorrow