To roof or not to roof?
Published 10/02/2016 | 02:30
It might have been considered madness as little as 10 years ago, but roofless cubicles have been springing up around the country in recent years. In comparison to roofed cubicles costing €700-950/cubicle, roofless cubicles can be half the cost, at €300-500/cubicle.
Note that none of these figures include slurry storage - one of the most overlooked aspects of farm yard design during expansion. A slurry storage deficit can be costly if a Single Farm Payment fine is incurred during an inspection from either the Local authorities or the Department of Agriculture. The additional rainwater collected from roofless cubicles can increase slurry requirements by up to 80pc.
There are three main options for slurry storage: underground slatted tanks, overground slurry tower and a geoline-membrane lagoon. Cost per gallon gets cheaper as size increases, especially for lagoons.
In the context of a roofed cubicle where no rainwater is being collected, slurry storage will cost:
€500/cow for an underground slatted tank;
€360/cow for an overground slurry tower store;
€150/cow for a geoline membrane slurry lagoon. Note that if rainwater is being collected from roofless cubicles, it increases the slurry capacity requirements and cost by approx 80pc depending on location.
By adding up these costs, we can estimate both ends of spectrum in a 100 cow example. The high cost option at €122,500, or €1,225/cow, is a roofed cubicle shed with slurry storage provided for by way of underground slatted tanks. The low cost option with roofless cubicles and slurry storage provided by a geoline membrane slurry lagoon comes in at €67,000, €670/cow.