February 10, 2017

Designed with Livestock in Mind

      From improving site aesthetics to enhancing neighbor relations, a properly planted windbreak can serve many functions on the farm. Most importantly, trees can protect livestock from inclement weather conditions including harsh winds, blowing snow or extreme temperatures.

     Whether livestock are raised in a feedlot, pasture or barn setting, windbreaks should be designed to meet the specific needs of the farm. The layout and tree species incorporated in the windbreak can be customized for optimum protection and economic benefit. Let’s take a closer look at tree planting considerations in an outdoor and indoor animal environment. 



Uncontrolled Outdoor Environment
      In an outdoor setting, an ideal windbreak will protect livestock from prevailing winds and falling temperatures in the winter, and provide shade and guide breezes during the summer months.
      
     The goal is to establish protective screening that allows the animals to maintain their body temperatures and avoid susceptibility to heat or cold stress. Ultimately, this can lead to an increase in feed efficiency and improve overall animal health.

Controlled Indoor Environment
     Under roof, the animal environment can be adjusted based on outdoor conditions. However, this often comes at a cost. Windbreaks can help lessen the cost by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool livestock barns.  

     Windbreaks are also an effective tool in depositing or redirecting snow in desired areas. For example, a well-designed windbreak can help keep snow away from driveways and storage facilities or even prevent roof collapses.

     At the end of the day, windbreaks are a great investment on any livestock farm. Start designing your windbreak by visiting http://www.supportfarmers.com/programs/green-farmstead-partner-program.

By Haley Banwart, CSIF Assistant Field Specialist

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