Fabric Building Dairy Barns Provide Cow Comfort
Farms 62' wide x 240'
Hanchek Farms is a third generation family dairy operation near Wilson, MI. When upgrades to their dairy operation were needed, the Hanchek family toured Wisconsin to research different barn options. "We went and talked to the farmers ourselves, they said if they had to build another one they would, they loved it,"¯ says Robert Hanchek. A number of friends and neighbors recommended tension fabric structures as the ideal dairy barns for their operations.
In July of 2003, the Hanchek's dairy operation moved into a 62' wide x 240' long (18.8m x 73.1m) fabric building. Prior to building the barn, the cattle were rotated in a 10 acre field regardless of the weather. Now the cows are out of the weather, and out of the rain.
The Hanchek's are very concerned about animal health and the cleanliness of their barn. Hanchek's chose to build a three row barn so that they could drive right through the building for feeding. They are able to keep their feeding alley much cleaner this way as they do not have to turn around outside the building in order to feed the other side. In addition to changing the bedding every four or five days, the stalls are scraped and fluffed twice daily so that the cows have a clean place to lay when they return from the parlor.
Fabric Building Highlights
Robert had split dairy curtains installed so that they can open up the building on nice days. The bottom curtain rolls down and is opened with a hand drill, while the top curtain is automatic and rolls up at the touch of a button. "With these curtains, everything is nice and clean. There is no curtain lying on the ground getting wet and mildewing. In addition to the dairy curtains, Robert covered the entire barn floor with rubber to reduce the stress on the animals.
Hanchek enjoys the open clearspan space in his fabric building and the natural light. "I have been in a lot of tin barns, they are nice buildings but they are dark and gloomy,"¯ says Hanchek. Robert is also pleased with how his building performs in different weather conditions throughout the different seasons. "In the summer it reflects the sun and stays cool,"¯ says Robert, "and in the winter the snow never builds up so it's nice and bright in here in the winter time also.
Other farmers within the community are also impressed with the fabric covered steel truss barn. "We've had two fabric building tours here, and people can't believe that its this big and this airy, says Robert. "If I had to build another, it would be another fabric covered building.
It's fresh and that was what we were after,
cow comfort and
The Hanchek's have seen a decrease in
mastitis and pneumonia since moving
into their fabric building.
"It's well ventilated, it's well lit, and it's airy. These were key factors in his buying decision."