New Beef Unit – Kilkelly

Kilkelly, Co. Mayo

The emphasis surrounding this building was on accessibility and ability to work with cattle – including halter training and grooming as this building will be housing show cattle, mostly Limousin and Simmental, however, a few Belgium Blue/Charolais thrown into the mix, With AI’d Blue calves. The six-bay building contains plenty of room for housing, making best use of the space provided to introduce creep areas and a large viewing platform/storage area. Large double doors either end ensures easy access for feeding through the centre feed passage, with additional feeding space accessible through the use of the open side of the shed, aiding easy feeding through the 2-bar feed rail. The opposite side incorporates a race the length of the building, including a crush system made up of Teemore crush panels. Use of the access gates have been made in designing a chicane like system for sorting cattle coming through the race.

When entering the building from the main double doors, the first thing you see are custom-made barriers incorporating an Axial style feeding barrier, a singular headlock and a man escape. The idea behind this is accessibility and safety. The axial style barrier is better suited to horned cattle types, providing ample room for getting their head through. The headlock has been added ensuring better versatility within the pen for performing medical and show procedures, without moving to the crush facility, this can also aid show training as it can teach the animal good patience when standing. The man escape ensures a safe exit but also easy accessibility, essential when spending an abundant amount of time tending to each animal. Each pen to the right is divided using a five-bar panel with drinker back. This also incorporate Teemore’s heavy-duty stainless-steel drinkers and rump rail, which fit perfectly within the drinker gap. The gate to the back of the pen leads to a creep to allow calves access to a lie back area next to the handling race. A unique design aspect to this building is the water accessibility. On the far side of the creep gate, just to the back of the stainless drinkers, nozzle drinkers specified for use of calves have been added. This gives greater access to water for the calves aiding hydration. The design of these pens ensures little needs to be done outside of this area, saving time and potentially stress on the animal.

On the left side of the building, the feed area has been lined with Jourdain headlocks throughout, the ideal product when carrying out whole herd work. Each pen is divided using an access gate ensuring easy movement between the pens, if needed. Additionally, a poured concrete wall and creep gate have been used to create access to the final row of pens, which feed out the side of the shed, incorporating the 2-bar feed rails, added as a safer solution for bull stock who all too easily get their head stuck in a normal diagonal barrier. Again, stainless drinkers have been incorporated at both the 2-bar feed side and the headlocking feed side, ensuring ample access to water.

From the farm managers point of view this project was enabling more free time and greater accessibility. The use of the Feston style barriers which were suggested by our Sales man, was very intriguing as it’s a set-up not seen on many buildings within Ireland. The race along with the hydraulic crush is another key feature he can’t wait to try out, as it is sure to improve handling of the animals.

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Project part financed by the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme for Northern Ireland co financed by the European Regional Development Fund.