Farm Ireland

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Every animal gets a slice of the action in pizza-shaped roundhouse

Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30

The roundhouse cattle shed maximises feeding space and improves cattle handling efficiency
The roundhouse cattle shed maximises feeding space and improves cattle handling efficiency

The unusual 30 metre diameter circular cattle shed is designed with ease of flow and handling in mind, explains Jimmy Cosgrave.

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He was visiting the UK when he first encountered a model of the Roundhouse shed from S&A fabrications in Skipton, Yorkshire before visiting another in Ayr in Scotland.

“We got chatting to the guys behind it — they were involved in erecting ordinary conventional buildings and designed this in the pub after work over about a year,” he says, adding they also liaised with the US animal behaviourist Temple Grandin.

“They designed this handling system slightly different to what she is doing.” Jimmy explains that the shed is similar to a pizza, with each slice a pen for cattle, all based around handling facilities at the centre.

“The concept of having it round was there was 333ft of feeding space all around it.

“There is great feeding space as a lot of sheds are too wide and don’t have enough of feeding space. With this shed you don’t have that problem.”

In 2007 they decided they were going to erect the shed but the sterling exchange rate was poor.  They held off until early ’08 when it had gained 13pc.

“The difference paid for all the concrete and the floor of the shed. It made a big difference to wait and we got it grant aided,” he says.

It cost £55,000 (€65,900) erected and a further £35,000 (€42,000) to rig it out with troughs, panels, precast doors, a weighing cell and foot trimming outfit, plus a further €13,500 for the concrete.

“We reckon we saved that €13,500 with the improvement in the exchange rate,” he says.

He currently stocks it with 90 cows comfortably on the dry bed floor but feels it would take an addition 18 weanlings.

“Everybody is amazed at the whole concept as in how easy it is work in it. You can work with

stock on your own, pull one out and check their feet. It is a super shed to calve cows in, you got into the round part in the middle and you can observe them.

“The cows are in a relaxed atmosphere and you don’t spook them as they have periphery vision,” he says, with the feed spread around the outside of the circle.

“There is a 10sqm round hole at the top of the roof and that acts like a vent.”

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