Author: Leah Call

Shade Makes Big Impact on Ohio Farm

Drausin Wulsin is in the midst of his first season with a Shade Haven on his farm, Red Stone Farm, in Cynthiana, Ohio. And he already wants another one.

“This is one of the tools that can lead to sustainability on a farm,” says Wulsin. “It gives one the ability to micromanage the land. It is a very effective tool.”

Farming for about 20 years, Wulsin left a career in the financial industry to farm full time. Today 150 bovine units, a couple hundred sheep, some hogs and laying hens graze the fertile lands of Red Stone Farm. Certified organic since 2013, the farm added organic dairy to the mix two years ago.

Wulsin and his wife Susan operate their farm, about 85 miles east of Cincinnati, and a business, Grassroots Farm & Foods, that sells their grass-fed meats and milks to restaurants and people in southern Ohio. They also sell their meats and Susan’s hand-prepared foods on the Grassroots Farm & Foods website.

Wulsin adheres to grass-based, sustainable farm practices, including rotational grazing. “We are constantly moving the animals to fresh pasture and fresh grass,” he says. “We have long rest periods of 30 to 90 days. We move them slowly when the grass is growing slowly.”

He says one of his biggest challenges as a livestock farmer is winter feed. “There are a number of ways to address that. One of which is building organic matter in the soil, so that you grow more feed and have a longer grazing season.”

The Shade Haven is an effective tool for building organic matter. “The beauty of the structure is that it allows you to surgically address issues of shade and issues of infertility,” says Wulsin. “You can place the structure where you want in order to get the greatest impact. It gives me ultimate mobility and flexibility to focus on a small scale on a piece of land. That eventually is going to build organic matter. We move manure away from the trees and into the pastures, that is going to help our pastures and help our organic matter, and ultimately help our bottom line.”

Pleased with the performance of his first Shade Haven, Wulsin anticipates ordering another. “I think it is very well-designed, good looking, mobile and durable. We have had some high winds and it is not affected.”

We’re Moving! Shade Haven Moving Production Facility and Offices

Viroqua, Wis. – July 3, 2017 – Shade Haven, LLC, designer and manufacturer of mobile shade structures for agricultural and commercial applications, is moving its offices and production facility from its current location on Nelson Parkway to the Food Enterprise Center, 1201 North Main Street, Viroqua, Wis.

“The larger production space at the Enterprise Center will better accommodate our manufacturing processes to fit the growing demand for our mobile shade structures,” said Shade Haven CEO Peter Bergquist.

In business since 2012, Shade Haven produces mobile shade structures in sizes up to 40 feet wide that are easily moved anywhere to throw shade where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Adding shade for pastured and rotationally grazed animals reduces the risk of heat stress, increases milk production and fertility, and impacts the even distribution of nutrients that keep a pasture healthy and thriving. Shade Haven structures have become an integral part of grass-based livestock operations throughout the U.S. and the world. The company has also broadened its market to serve the people industry, providing shade for large groups at events such as trade shows and music festivals.

“We’re very excited to help support the growth of this local, successful business. Shade Haven is a great fit with the innovative culture we’ve established here in our center,” noted Susan Noble, executive director of Vernon Economic Development Association, which owns and manages the Food Enterprise Center. “We’re proud to work with these young engineers to keep their business headquartered in our community.”

Shade Haven will begin moving mid-July and expects to be fully operational at its new location by August 1, 2017.

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Shade Haven at WI Farm Tech Days, July 11-13

Viroqua, Wis. – July 3, 2017 – Shade Haven, LLC, designer and manufacturer of mobile shade structures for agricultural and commercial applications, is an exhibitor at the upcoming Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, July 11-13, in Algoma, Wis. 

“We are proud to be among the innovative exhibitors at Farm Tech Days for the third year,” said Shade Haven CEO Peter Bergquist. “It’s a terrific opportunity to connect with livestock producers to introduce how they can integrate our mobile shade structures into their operations.”

 

Shade Haven has added a new model, the SH500, since the 2016 show. This smaller model is ideal for cattle and other livestock. It can easily be transported with a 4-wheeler and provides 500 square feet of shade. 

 

Demand for Shade Haven’s innovative products is growing worldwide. Shade Haven produces mobile shade structures in sizes up to 40 feet wide that are easily moved anywhere to throw shade where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Adding shade for pastured and rotationally grazed animals reduces the risk of heat stress, increases milk production and animal fertility, and contributes to the even distribution of nutrients that keep a pasture healthy and thriving. Shade Haven structures have become an integral part of grass-based livestock operations throughout the U.S. and the world.

 

The three-day Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is the state’s biggest agricultural show and one of the largest in the nation.

Stop by and enjoy the shade at Shade Haven’s outdoor booth #586.

Bring on the Shade for Stress-Free Cows

It’s summer. For humans that means time outdoors, vacations and lower stress. For dairy cows, it’s another story. When temperatures rise above 72 degrees, dairy cows are susceptible to heat stress, especially with full sun and high humidity. As we enter the hottest months of summer, water and shade are critical to reducing heat stress and keeping cows healthy and productive.

Heat stress raises a cow’s body temperature, which leads to less dry matter intake, resulting in weight loss and decreased milk production. The more productive the cow, the higher the risk of heat stress. A study by the University of Florida states, “Heat stress has been shown to reduce milk production by 25% by reducing feed intake and increasing health problems such as mastitis, lameness and reproductive delay.”

Less milk in the tank means less money in your pocket. Calculating just a 15% reduction with a 50-cow herd that averages 2,500 pounds of milk daily, equals a potential daily loss of 375 pounds of milk. Multiply that by 100 days – the average days in a year over 80 degrees – and you take a significant economic hit.

Provide the shade

Providing shade with Shade Haven mobile structures is an economical solution to reduce heat stress and boost productivity. Multiple studies confirm that providing shade for lactating cows increases their dry matter intake, leading to increased milk production.

“In Florida studies, shade alone improved milk productivity by 10% in two consecutive years,” notes another University of Florida IFAS Extension study, titled Feeding and Managing Cows in Warm Weather.

The same study states, “The maintenance needs for a 1,400-lb. cow producing 60 lbs. of milk is about 20% higher when the temperature is 95 degrees F as compared to 68 degrees F. This being true, it is easy to understand the impact of heat stress on high-producing cows in early lactation when energy intake is critical to her performance.”

The University of Wisconsin -Extension estimates Wisconsin dairies lose as much as $200 per cow annually because of heat stress. Dry cows and even calves can benefit from shade, too, with better weight gain, improved immune function and better production once they join the milking herd.

Shade Haven mobile shade structures are available in sizes up to 40 feet wide. They can be easily moved to provide shade where you need it, when you need it, for a stress-free summer for your cows.

Casting Shade on Nutrient Management


For beef and dairy farms, crop fertility is ranked as a leading expense, second to the cost of the land. Rotational grazing practices address the pasture fertility issue, moving animals from paddock to paddock every three days. Through this practice, the animals return nutrients to the pasture by grazing, drinking water and depositing the nutrients back on the paddock. A blazing hot sun presents challenges to rotational grazing practices.

“The issue then is not the addition of nutrients, it’s the distribution of nutrients,” explains Wisconsin beef farmer and managed grazer Jim Munsch. “There are university studies that say without shade, most of the nutrients tend to gravitate toward the water source in the paddock. On a hot day, if you have no shade, the animals will either stand on the highest part of the paddock to get the breeze, or they will stand around the water point.”

If there are trees in a pasture, animals will congregate there and deposit minerals primarily in that area. Munsch adds that “true converts to rotational grazing” considered trees as weeds, for that very reason. On a hot day, animals migrate toward them, resulting in unequal distribution of nutrients in the paddock. The solution, eliminate the trees.

Yet, without shade, the animals suffer, and any farmer raising livestock is concerned about animal comfort. Dairy cows are especially susceptible to heat stress, which impacts production and ultimately the bottom line.

Enter Shade Haven

“This in my view is a movable tree,” says Munsch. “Wherever you need nutrients, wherever nutrients have negative migration…a way to get nutrients back into that place is to bring shade there on a sunny day. Shade Haven allows you to move nutrients where you want them. For instance, in my paddock I move cows every day. Here in Wisconsin you can occupy a paddock five or six times during the year. So you have five or six opportunities to move nutrients where you want them.”

The standard time animals stay in a paddock is three days. If all three of those days are sunny, Munsch moves the Shade Haven structure within the paddock daily. “It’s like parking your manure spreader in a place. So if you have a high concentration of animals under there for a good part of the day, you are going to want to move it.”

It’s also wise to move the structure after heavy rains that have saturated the soil. “If the ground is soft, after a couple inches of rain, they are going to beat that little piece of land up pretty bad.”

The nitrogen dilemma

Nitrogen is a typical add to soil by many conventional farmers. Purchasing nitrogen can be expensive. Munsch argues that nitrogen can be added to the soil by encouraging legumes to grow in your pasture. Legumes fix nitrogen from the air. “In fact there is a net positive on nitrogen simply by encouraging legumes to grow on your pasture,” Munsch says. “The economic trade off is legumes for nitrogen, so you don’t have to buy nitrogen, and animals take care of the distribution of nutrients within a paddock for phosphorus and potash and trace minerals, needed to maintain the health of the legumes.”

“On our farm, we have not applied purchased fertilizer to our grazing land in 25 years,” adds Munsch. “This is a product of managing animal distribution and selective out-wintering.”

With dairy cows, who are very susceptible to heat stress, Shade Haven is effective with the distribution of nutrients that keep the pasture healthy and fertile. “The thing that keeps them [dairy cows] in the barn is the shade,” notes Munsch. “By facilitating the animals to spend time in the paddock by providing shade you are moving nutrients out of the barn, out of the lanes, and onto the paddocks.”