The very definition of agriculture clearly demonstrates its importance on the local, national and global stages. As a science, art and industry focusing on the cultivation of land, production of crops, and feeding, breeding, and the raising of livestock farmers this multi-faceted profession literally feeds billions around the world. Understandably it’s a business that needs reliable, durable and highly efficient structures that meet the requirements and demands of farmers, producers and all those active in the agricultural and agri-business sectors on a yearly basis regardless of climate, location or commodity.
Many of us are aware of the countless custom steel buildings, pole framed barns and concrete silos associated with farming. But what about the growing number of fabric farm structures dotting the rural landscape these days, becoming increasingly more popular with producers operating a wider range of commodities over the past few decades?
When comparing fabric to what were perceived as the more conventional choices of material like steel, wood and concrete, manufacturers like Calhoun Super Structure have been pointing to a seemingly endless list of reasons as to why fabric buildings are attracting greater numbers of farmers.
Whether it’s commercial usage on dairy or hog barns, storage of fertilizer, sand, equipment, hay and even more, fabric structures, we’ve been serving more and more industries since 1992.
Consider some of the key advantages:
• Less construction and installation time required
• Versatility and high quality material
• State-of-the-art structural engineering techniques
• Less expensive
• Better ventilation for both producers and livestock
• Greater space for mobility, work and animal quarters
• Material that reflects sunlight, providing a natural environment
• More natural light means lower energy bills
• Designed to withstand inclement climatic conditions
• Room for storage including equipment, hay, straw and more
• If sold, can be moved and relocated easily
• More cost effective than traditional structures
There are considerably more reasons why producers are turning to fabric structures. However, an even more effective way of illustrating this trend is simply considering what producers are discovering about these durable multi-faceted units.
So that’s exactly what we did and here is some of what we found.
Less expensive option for producers
Within the agriculture sector there are numerous commodities and a multitude of demands placed on producers. Cattle/dairy or hog producers and many of those in the equine industry have responded positively to the usage of fabric structures.
After carefully weighing the pros and cons, many decided to opt for fabric structures, rather than taking the more conventional route. One of the chief reasons was the cost factor within their often limited budgets. After mulling over the idea of selecting steel, wood or concrete, many soon learn the expense of those types is often more than fabric.
So, several years after taking the plunge, many say they haven’t regretted making that investment for a moment. For less money, they got a structure fit to their size specifications and adaptable for a variety of uses including a place for their livestock and considerable space for the storage of hay and/or straw.
With an open-ended structure the transportation of materials in and out is easy and efficient and there is always the added bonus of natural light that literally shines through the material. The structure can be closed in by adding walls to one or both ends of the fabric building. Multiple small or large doors on ends can provide accessibility and security.
Light during the daytime makes it much easier for producers to work indoors in a natural environment. Add to that the bonus of excellent ventilation and generous space, these well-constructed fabric structures have proven to be ideal throughout the year.
Producers say they wouldn’t think twice about buying another fabric structure should the need arise.
Durability and longevity of fabric
It’s not unusual to find some producers still with fabric structures that have lasted more than two decades, continuing to satisfy their requirements and much more. Costs do vary but some suggest they initially saved 30 per cent and more when they opted for fabric rather than the more conventional options.
Small structures can be adjoined to comprise a larger unit. Those in the dairy industry point to varying uses like an accessible section for a milk house, parlor or robotic milkers and such work as hoof trimming for large numbers of animals.
Somewhat warmer than the outdoor temperatures during winter, producers meet the challenges of the colder months using heated water bowls for their animals and insulation throughout the structure, if necessary.
And of course Calhoun has lead the way in technology and engineering changes over the years, ensuring clients are being offered the most affordable, efficient and very much state-of-the art structures that meet and often exceed the requirements of those working in every agricultural commodity.
Meeting their budgetary requirements in the early days, producers are finding over the years that the move to a fabric structure – with ever-improving structural technology keeping pace with the always-changing agriculture industry – was indeed the correct choice. Clearly the interest in fabric structures remains high and is, in fact, growing throughout all commodities.
Horse owners have been discovering over the years just how useful such multi-purpose fabric structures are, providing ample room for the animals, storage room for bales of hay and room for a well-lit and spacious arena.
Again the natural light, coupled with excellent ventilation, means a clean, safe and comfortable environment for both animals and producers. Cloudy, overcast days with little light translate to higher energy bills for those who opt for metal, concrete or wood units. However, those with fabric structures usually only turn to additional light during the night, rarely during the daytime.
Less expensive to maintain and with comfortable, more natural surroundings, the fabric structure offers the optimal place for producers to work on machinery, tend to the animals and conduct day-to-day chores both in the warm and colder weather. Animals – horses, hogs, cattle and others – are healthier.
Easy to transport
Additions and improvements can be made to a fabric structure, once again demonstrating versatility and adaptability. When repair work or servicing machinery is the order-of-the-day there is no need to shift equipment from the farm to the shop. All can be done right there in comfort.
Should the owner move or decide to sell the product, transportation poses no problem with the light and durable structure load onto the vehicle and transport in a quick and timely fashion.