Archive for October 2011

by Ed Haag |

Extension beef specialist Dan Faulkner admits that when he and his colleagues from the University of Illinois and Iowa State University began collecting data from 225 commercial herds in an effort to better understand what factors had the greatest impact on profitability, few would have predicted that one factor would emerge heads above the rest. “About 56% of the variation in profitability was attributable to feed and hay costs,” he says. “It was a huge factor in determining profitability.”

For Faulkner and others who reviewed the survey results, the data was telling. “To me, if feed costs explain over 50% of the variation in profit, it is the one producers should really focus on,” he says.

One beef scientist who took notice of what the Illinois and Iowa survey revealed was Dan Buskirk, department of animal science, Michigan State University (MSU). For him, there was an obvious follow-up question: What was the specific reason for the variations in profitability in relation to feeding costs?

Buskirk then recalled one of his school’s livestock educators saying that he had observed a marked difference in how effective specific types of round hay feeders were at controlling waste.

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After checking the existing literature, Buskirk discovered very little had been published on the subject in recent years. But one study completed in the 1980s showed that losses of hay due to the way it was fed could reach 20% to 30% of the dry matter fed.

New research needed

With several unique designs for large bale feeders in use (with more than one claiming reduced waste potential), Buskirk was curious to see if those claims would stand up under scientific scrutiny. He was particularly interested in how cattle behaved when they were accessing the different feeders. He believed that a better understanding of the relationship between feeder design and animal behavior could provide an opportunity for more efficient feed use and also enhance animal performance and well-being.

Based on his initial findings and the encouragement of his colleagues, Buskirk formed a research team to evaluate four of the most commonly used round bale feeders: the cone feeder, the ring feeder, the trailer feeder, and the cradle feeder. The team would also monitor the feeding behavior for each feeder design and the relationship between feeding behavior, feeder design, and feed loss.

A group of 160 nonlactating, pregnant beef cows from the MSU herd were used to evaluate the quantity of hay loss and feeding behaviors from different round bale feeders.

These animals were split into eight groups of 20 and assigned by weight and body condition score to one of eight pens with the four feeder designs being evaluated. All feeder types provided approximately 37 cm linear feeder space per animal.

Prior to feeding, the round bales were weighed and sampled. During the study, the hay that fell onto the concrete surrounding the feeder was considered waste and was collected and sampled daily. After seven days, each hay feeder type was assigned to a different pen for seven more days.

Because Buskirk felt any discrepancy in waste between feeders would probably be traced back to cattle interaction around the units, he added an animal behavior component to his study. “I knew if we had differences, the next question would be why,” he says. “So at the onset of the project, working with our animal behaviorist, Adroaldo Zanella, we set up video cameras to record the cattle interaction around the feeders.”

No shortage of surprises

For Buskirk and his team, there were surprises once the data was processed. The feeder to receive the highest marks was the cone feeder with a dry matter hay loss of 3.5%, followed by the ring feeder with 6.1%, the trailer feeder with 11.4%, and the cradle feeder with 14.6%.

“My guess before the study was that the cradle feeder would prove the best at reducing waste because any hay that wasn’t consumed over the feeder would drop back down to the bottom of the cradle,” says Buskirk. What he hadn’t calculated when making his prediction was that boss cow behavior would even trump what seemed like a well-designed system.

“We found that with the cradle feeder cows tended to walk alongside of it and butt several cows out of the way at the same time,” he says. “When that happens a cow backs up and drops half of what she is eating on the ground.”

He points out this behavior was observed with both the cradle and the trailer feeder but was nearly absent with the cone and the ring feeders.

Researchers found cattle interaction wasn’t the only reason for excessive waste. Individual cow feeding behavior could result in increased hay loss if it wasn’t controlled by feeder design.

“Round feeders were set lower, which allowed cattle to put their heads directly in the feeder,” says Buskirk. He notes that this offered a more natural grazing position and encouraged the cattle to keep their heads in the feeders throughout much of the process.

“In contrast, with flat-sided feeders, they tended to reach in, grab a mouthful of hay, and pull their heads out to chew it. In the process, some hay ended up on the ground,” he says.

Similarly, feeder designs that required cattle to access hay from under a top rail were far less likely to waste hay since cows didn’t toss it over their backs or along their sides.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

by Oded Sparrow |

The livestock scales are the instruments used to measure the weight of the domestic animals.

The size of the weighing machines depends on the size of the animal. If the animal is small then the machine can be small. But for the animals such as cows and the crocodiles there are huge scales used.

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The animal on the instrument will be always in motion as they feel themselves in an unusual condition, so the scale is designed in such a way that as soon the animal is placed on the scale, it will take the average reading. The scale is made robust enough to tolerate the urination of the animals. They are used in tough farm conditions.

The animal’s health is decided with the weight of the animal, so the veterinary doctor will surely have a livestock scale to measure the weight of the animals. In the zoo the weight is always recorded to keep the health record off the animals. If an animal is taken the veterinary doctor, he will surely measure the weight of the animal to prescribe medicines. When the animals start becoming healthy they will regain weight which will help the veterinary doctor to decide the result of his treatment.

The farmers who sell some animals for meat have to surely weigh the animals to decide the price of the animals. There are many other necessities of the farmers where in they need to sell or buy the live stock. These livestock scales are very handy for them to decide the prices. The weight of the animal is on the display for a limited time, to be noted down. Te purchaser and the seller will not incur any losses by using these scales.

These scales are used mostly for commercial purposes or for weighing the animal to know its health. These machines are both operated on electricity and also on batteries. But bigger scales are mostly operated on electricity. The display is quite big an also clear for proper reading. People feel the digital reading is more perfect as no one likes to pay more and get dissatisfied after the deal.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

Thinking about do it yourself radiant heat? You better have some serious fix it ability, because radiant heat involves a lot of different skill sets. There are also many different types of radiant heat that you can install in a home.

Let’s start with the easiest system and progress to the most difficult way to incorporate radiant heat into a room or an entire home. No matter what system you plan to tackle, a great place to start is with electrical radiant heat because not much has to be altered in an existing home to install them. The most difficult, but the most efficient is a hydronic radiant heat system, which requires a separate heat source.

The easiest radiant heat systems involve buying a heater that you simply plug into the wall. Radiant heaters are different than typical space heaters because they only warm objects they are pointed at. They don’t warm the air around them. Look here for popular portable Radiant Heaters. The smaller ones can cost only $30. Plug it in, and point it at you, so long as you are at least a few feet away from it. It emits infrared rays that warm you or the objects that are in its path. It basically works like sunlight rays producing the same feeling you would get if you were sitting behind a window on a cold day. The sun’s rays warm up the spot they are shining on, just like a radiant heater warms up objects that are near it.

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There are larger radiant heating plug in systems out there. Some companies that specialize in radiant heat products have even started to incorporate radiant heaters into common household objects like mirrors or a picture. Other radiant heat products such as aluminum radiators can be mounted up on the wall, and look very inconspicuous.

The next option for incorporating radiant heat would be to embed it into the flooring. This is by far the most comfortable option for using radiant heat. The easiest way, which is still pretty difficult even for some do it yourselfers, is to use an electric radiant under floor heating system. The radiant heat will come in a wired mat that you lay down on the subflooring. This radiant heat mat will then have to be embedded into the subfloor by covering it with thinset. If you have put down a tile floor, this isn’t that difficult of a step.

The one thing you do have to make sure you take care of is properly wiring the radiant floor heat mat. This system should be wired into the electric grid of the home, and it also should have a separate programmable thermostat dedicated to this radiant floor heat. Once the system is hooked up correctly, and has been tested, the finished flooring can be installed above the embedded system. Usually tile flooring is put over the top of the electric radiant floor heat. Tile typically has a very cool to the touch feel, but not with radiant heat. The tiles will now be toasty warm.

The most practical application for do it yourself radiant heat is to put a system in when you remodel a bathroom or kitchen. These rooms are typically small enough so the radiant heat won’t cost too much to install, and they can be hooked up to a programmable thermostat that will only heat the floor when people are actually using the room. The option of radiant floor heat in the bathroom is very popular because when the heat is programmed to turn on, let’s say in the morning when you are getting up for work, you walk into a warm inviting room instead of a cold and clammy tile floor.

It should be noted that you can use different surfaces besides just tile for electric radiant floor heat. Laminate and linoleum are two popular choices as well for this system. Carpet and wood floors don’t mix well usually with electric floor heat.

The last, and by far, the most complex do it yourself radiant heat option is to use a hydronic heating system. With this choice, you would have to install a boiler, a manifold for PEX radiant tubing, and then PEX radiant tubing would have to be strapped to the bottom of a subfloor with aluminum plates. You could also put the PEX radiant tubing on a floor where thinset can be poured over it. This would embed the radiant floor heat and then the finished flooring could be put right over the top of it.

In fact, with a lot of newer homes, the radiant heating is often embedded into the ground floor concrete slab. For the floors above grade, you can use a variety of products, from simply strapping the PEX radiant tubing under the subfloor, or buy a special subfloor where the channels are already precut for the tubes to rest in.

Do it yourself radiant heat is no joke. It requires a bunch of different skill sets from electrical to even plumbing. Make sure you understand what you want, and how exactly you are going to execute it.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

by Tanzania Scott |

Livestock scales were designed for weighing large farm animals like horses, cattle and sheep. These scales are specially designed to support to weight an animal weighing several tons. You will be able to accurately weight the animals by using the scale. You will be able to weight the animals that could not be weighed in a typical standard scale or veterinary scale. Most of these models are designed to weigh small and medium animals.

A livestock scale plays an important role in profession of the veterinarians who are specialized in caring for the health of the farm animals. They require these scales for weighing the animals that are perceived as bad. These scales are also used in most of the zoos to maintain the health of the animal.

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Many times, and probably most of the time, animals that are up to the balance of cattle will not stay still during the time it takes to get an accurate measurement with a traditional scale. However, in order to ensure that the animals are weighed properly, the manufacturers have created the livestock models. These scales are also commonly used in where the cattle are often bought as well as sold or kept for profit. Most heavy-duty scales that are designed for using on the farms are water resistant. Therefore, you do not have to worry maintaining them against rain and animal waste. As you can see, the scales of cattle can be found in more places than just the veterinary office. Many farmers would not be able to cope without them.

There are several different types of scales of cattle on the market available today, which are designed for different weight ranges. They also come with different features and characteristics. All models tend to be very durable for its purpose, but some have additional features for weighing different situations. Therefore, when you are planning to buy Livestock Scales, it is very important to select the right one that perfectly suits your needs. Incase, if you are not able to find the right one, taking the assistance of a veterinary expert will help you.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

by Cynthia Cooper |

Over the past few years, awareness about saddle fit has increased dramatically as we look to get better performance from our horses, especially in the field of endurance. In any sport where long hours with a saddle and rider on board, a horse’s back, movement, expression and willingness will tell you the truth about your saddle fit.

Today there are a many new saddle designs that are catering for the increased size and broadness of the horses we are breeding now. There are a variety of flexible trees, treeless saddles, adjustable gullets and air panel systems that all help to achieve a good fit on most horses, mules and donkey’s.

So what do you look for with saddle fit?

Firstly, notice what your horse does when you approach with the saddle – is he/she trying to move away, pinning their ears, head tossing or even trying to nip you as you put the saddle on or girth it up? If so, they are probably trying to tell you that something is very uncomfortable for them.

Put the saddle on with a thin pad and girth it up to where you can get on so you will be able to see how it sits on your horse’s back.

Using a thick pad can be useful when your horse’s condition is lighter but shouldn’t be used to compensate for an ill-fitting saddle. It would be like putting thick socks on with shoes that are already too tight.

Saddle pads were originally designed to keep the underside of the saddle clean, but have now become a complicated choice and is a topic needing its own article.

Looking at the saddle from beside the horse – does it sit evenly? If it’s too high at the front then it’s probably too narrow and will tend to roll from side to side or slip when you mount no matter how tight the girth. If it sits up at the back, it may be too wide in the gullet and be unstable when you rock it from front to back.

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It should also be easy to run your hand freely behind the shoulder. If you have trouble freely running your hand between the shoulder and the widest point of the gullet, then its probably too narrow for your horse.

Then view the saddle from the front – does it clear the wither by at least 4 fingers? Even treeless saddles should have good wither clearance.

Another issue with fit is the placement of the saddle. The design should allow the saddle to fit far enough back from the shoulder to reduce interference when the horse moves. If your saddle does not girth up in the horse’s natural girth channel, when positioned back far enough, than it is not the right one.

Some saddle designs have a Y shaped girthing system that allows for the adjustment of the girth positioning.
Now its time to ride your horse so take notice of issues such as high head carriage, reluctance to transition down gaits, reluctance to travel down hill easily, reluctance to stride out freely, a sour expression and raising the head suddenly (even squealing) when you dismount.

Ride until your horse has a good sweat under the cloth and this will tell you even more about fit.

When you remove the saddle, there should be no sign of dry patches. This idicates that the pressure on the muscle in this area is restricting blood and sweat flow that will lead to muscle damage and dead tissue, eventually growing white hair.

There are so many problems that develop from saddle fit that we can remove or reduce by being aware and listening to our horse. Many behavioural and even health issues start with physical discomfort so its up to us to become good detectives and do our research.

With so much information available today, we have no reason to be ignorant and compromise our horse’s enjoyment of being ridden.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.