Maximising Efficiency and Animal Welfare: State-of-the-Art Calf to Beef Finishing Unit

Introduction: This captivating case study examines the successful implementation of a cutting-edge calf-to-beef finishing unit in Ballyconnell, County Cavan. This remarkable investment was driven by the goal of optimising profitability in the current economic climate, achieved through labour reduction and increased capacity. The project’s focal point was the creation of a safe working environment that prioritised cattle handling, welfare, and minimised human interaction. The client’s unwavering commitment to receiving top-quality goods further emphasised their dedication to success.

Challenges Faced: The project faced several challenges, including the need to streamline operations, enhance cattle comfort and welfare, and create an efficient layout to accommodate different stages of cattle growth. Additionally, biosecurity concerns and the desire to maximise weight gain posed further considerations that had to be addressed.

Building Design and Features: Teemore Engineering was entrusted with the task of designing the facility’s layout, spanning an impressive 9000 square feet. The design incorporated innovative elements to address the challenges at hand. To cater to younger stock, half of the pens were equipped with diagonal barriers, ensuring secure spaces. A separate building was dedicated to housing calves aged 0-3 months, ensuring optimal biosecurity. The remaining pens featured Teemore’s adaptable 3-bar fattening feed rail, providing the flexibility required for the animals’ growth stages. To enhance animal comfort and reduce the risk of injury, slat rubber was installed in each pen.

Efficient Handling and Safety Measures: Every pen in the facility was seamlessly connected to a handling system, allowing for smooth transitions without disturbing other cattle batches. Safety was paramount, with multiple escape passages strategically placed throughout the unit, ensuring the well-being of the staff. The introduction of a stock-boarded 360-degree forcing pen reduced distractions and increased overall efficiency. The utilisation of a circular forcing system and a curved race significantly improved cattle movement times by up to 50%. Extensive discussions between the client and Teemore’s sales representative led to the adoption of the curved race design, reducing hesitation and stress among the cattle.

Advanced Equipment and Versatile Infrastructure: The installation of a Clipex HD1100 double squeeze crush, complemented by Gallagher weigh cells and a weigh head, revolutionised the catching and restraining processes. This state-of-the-art equipment drastically reduced the time required for each procedure. The facility’s heavy-duty five-bar gates provided versatility and longevity, allowing for adjustments in shed use over time.

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