News & Stories

Introducing the SH600

Shade Haven is proud to introduce the SH600. It’s a smaller version of our SH1200 with the same functionality and durability as the larger unit. It’s a perfect fit for herds of less than 30 cattle as well as goats, sheep, chickens, alpacas and other livestock.

Specifications:
Span: 30 ft.
Height: 9.5 ft.
Shade Area: 600 sq. ft.
Weight: 1500 lbs.

Special introductory pricing available if purchased before the end of 2017.

Contact us today!

 

Mobile Shade Builds Pasture Health in Iowa

Eighty happy Jersey cows graze the pastures of Francis Thicke’s 730-acre Radiance Dairy organic farm in Fairfield, Iowa. The cows produce the key ingredient for the bottled milk, yogurt and cheese processed right on the farm and sold to nearby grocery stores and restaurants.

Thicke practices rotational grazing in 60 paddocks. “We have three groups that move around—the milking cows, the dry cows and bred heifers, and the third group is yearlings,” he says.

A Shade Haven mobile shade structure moves with the milking cows. The addition of the Shade Haven gives Thicke more control over which paddocks he uses regardless of the weather. It also allows him to control nutrient distribution.

“I have quite a few paddocks with trees. Before the Shade Haven, I would always give the cows the paddocks with the trees on the hot summer days, and at night I put them on paddocks with no trees,” says Thicke. “Now with the shade I reverse that.”

“I can move the shade to a different place every time,” he adds. “The key thing is that I put them where there are no trees in the daytime and use the shade to manage my nutrients. That’s the reason I bought it.”

Pasture management is something Thicke knows a lot about. Raised on a farm in La Crescent, Minn., he has a Ph.D. in soil science and worked as National Program Leader for Soil Science at the USDA Extension Service in Washington D.C. “Then 25 years ago I came back to farming here in Iowa,” he explains.

Thicke runs Radiance Dairy with his wife Susan. He has been a long-time advocate of organic farming practices since the 1970s when he and his brothers converted the family’s dairy farm to organic. He serves on the National Organic Standards Board and is active in numerous organic organizations.

Thicke’s focus on soil health extends to the cover crops that he uses for field crops and for grazing. The cover crops control weeds and build the soil.

Building a healthy pasture is made easier thanks to the Shade Haven. Thicke appreciates the ease of collapsing the shade and redeploying it. “Although most of the time I move it from paddock to paddock without folding it up,” he says. “It is easy to hook up and pull the Shade Haven through paddock gates and down lanes with an ATV, without folding it up.”

As a mobile shade structure owner for less than one year, Thicke is among the many rotational graziers throughout the U.S. discovering the benefits of portable shade in their grazing systems. We at Shade Haven look forward to learning about additional impacts of shade at Radiance Dairy.

See photos and more information at Radiance Dairy’s Facebook page.

A Perfect Fit

 

Hidden Creek Farm in Delaplane, Virginia, is gaining a reputation as the place with the Shade Haven. Farm owner Andrea Young welcomes that connection. “For us, the Shade Haven is more than an investment, it aligns with our vision of innovation, quality products and quality of life for our animals.  It’s cool, its innovative and it provides real value.”

Passersby might catch the Youngs’ Red Poll cattle enjoying the Shade Haven mobile shade structure. You might even see their Katahdin sheep, chickens or a combination of animals hanging out there.

The mix of animals at Hidden Creek Farm is part of the vision the Youngs had for their farm when they purchased it in 2015. Since the farm was in a conservation area, Young says, “We wanted to create a place that respected the attitude of conservation and reverence for what the land could do with us, and what we could learn from the land.”

“With our commitment to conservation, we wanted to focus on at least one or two heritage breeds. So we talked to the livestock conservancy, did research and decided to get Red Poll cattle, which are a threatened breed.”

This fall the Youngs are breeding some of their heifers for the first time and will breed the rest in the spring. They plan to sell breeding stock to others interested in the preservation of Red Poll cattle and will eventually sell the meat, which is known to be flavorful and tender. Additionally, the farm markets its pigs, sheep, chickens, herbs, mushrooms, fruit and honey.

Andrea and her husband Dendy have dedicated their professional lives to helping startups and encouraging entrepreneurship. Young says that working with an innovative young company such as Shade Haven LLC fits perfectly with their philosophy of both farming and life in general.

Practicing rotational grazing, Young has observed an improvement in pasture health with the Shade Haven. “We move the Shade Haven every five days, and we have noticed amazing fertility, health and vigor. There are round patches in the pasture where ever we put the Shade Haven. The grass that comes up there is so lush and vibrant. It’s phenomenal.”

Animal health and comfort is important to Young, and she is pleased to find her cows under the Shade Haven instead of out in the hot sun. “I can tell you that the cows prefer the Shade Haven, that is just a fact. Even on a cool day, they will go under and just hang there. It’s like a gathering place.”

“When I know my cattle and my sheep are protected and more comfortable, that comes back to us both in peace and in terms of dollars,” adds Young. “For us, the Shade Haven was very much on top of the priority list. It is essential.”

Young is excited about the future as they move ahead with their plans for Hidden Creek Farm. Those plans include the livestock as well as agritourism and education. The goal is to offer others a chance to spend time on the farm and enable beginning farmers to learn through a young farmer internship program.

“Starting Hidden Creek Farm has been an amazing experience,” says Young. “Nobody is ever bored, and we are all learning a lot. It is where we want to be and how we want to live for the rest of our lives.”

Check out Hidden Creek Farm’s website to find out more about this happy customer.

Tennessee Farm Creates Cool, Clean Environment with Shade

If you look out across the 480 acres that make up Powell Farms in Limestone, Tennessee, you’ll likely spot at least one of the farm’s nine Shade Haven mobile shade structures, probably at the highest point in the pasture.

“Anytime you have cattle, you need shade and you need fresh air,” notes farm owner Jim Powell. “The advantage of the Shade Haven is you can put the shade on the top of a knoll where most of the air flows. Even when it is not very windy, you still get fresh air moving across, and if you move the shades daily, you are on fresh ground and fresh lie down area every day.”

The Shade Haven mobile shade structures on Powell Farms provide comfort for the farm’s 500+ Angus calves, yearlings and mature cows. Powell especially appreciates the fresh ground for the young stock.  “Because the calves need a cleaner environment than a mature cow does,” he says.

About 200 calves are born each year on Powell Farms, most of them through embryonic transfer. “We do mostly IVF to produce our embryos,” explains Powell, who says the farm only raises heifers. “We sort the semen before it is put in the dish in the IVF process, which gives us about 93% females.”

A graduate of the University of Tennessee agriculture school in the 1950s, Powell has worked off and on in the ag industry over the last 60+ years. He has worked closely with the university on a number of projects, including a new genomics center set to launch in 2018.

Earlier this year, Powell donated two Shade Haven structures to his alma mater, after university representatives were impressed with the shades they saw on a visit to Powell Farms.

“They are using them for a heifer program,” adds Powell. “They feel the same way; the cross flow of air is a huge advantage.”

Sharing his time between the farm and his business, Powell Construction, Powell appreciates the ease with which the shade units can be moved and redeployed. “It takes 15 or 20 minutes, but it is a one-person job and I think that is an advantage.”

Powell notes the slip tongue feature on the dolly tongue makes it easy for one person to hook up and move the unit. “The Shade Haven is very simple to use,” he adds. “They are easy to move, and they withstand wind. We have never had any damage to a single one because of wind.”

Practicing rotational grazing and feeding primarily forage-based product, Powell Farms adheres to the highest standards in its Angus program. Shade Haven is proud to part of that program. Discover more about Powell Farm’s superior Angus cattle at powellfarms.net.

Rules and Tools for Rotational Grazing

“At the heart of rotational grazing is a replication of the way nature has formed an interaction between ruminants and plants – mainly grassland plants,” notes longtime Wisconsin beef farmer and rotational grazier Jim Munsch.

Munsch likens managed grazing of modern day cattle to the movement of their predecessors, the buffalo on the Great Plains or ruminants in Africa. “That structure involved a ruminant eating a plant off in one area and then moving on to another area where the plants were delicious and plentiful, allowing time for the initial plant that was eaten off to regrow.”

The movement and herding behavior was driven primarily by predators. Today electric fences replicate that effect. “We put animals in a herd on a small piece of land, have them eat the plants down so there is still leaf left, and then have them eat another piece, so the original piece can regrow.”

Allowing for regrowth is key to rotational grazing. In the spring in the upper Midwest, where Munsch grazes his beef, regrowth typically happens in about three weeks. In fall, it takes up to five weeks depending on moisture and length of daylight.

“With some grass and legume species, regrowth starts in 24 hours; therefore, it is best to move the cattle out of the eaten area, so they cannot graze on the immediate regrowth,” advises Munsch.

He aims for his animals to eat half of what is available and leave half to generate new growth and keep plants healthy. Manure distribution and hoof action also contribute to pasture health. Stock density for a healthy pasture on Munsch’s farm is approximately a pound of animal per square foot.

Tools for successful grazing

“Everything we do in terms of tools—fencing, water, shade— is to enhance that biological relationship between the plant and the animal,” notes Munsch.

Fencing – Managed grazing starts with a sturdy perimeter fence consisting of four to six strands of high-tensile or barbed wire. Next single-strand electric wire is used to form large paddocks within that area. Within those large paddocks, one to three days of grazing is enclosed with temporary fencing or polywire.

The size of those areas is determined by the number of animals and the amount of dry matter on the paddock. “A ruminant consumes about 2 ½ to 3% of their body weight daily in dry matter of the plants they consume,” explains Munsch. “You can estimate in a moderately thick stand, there are a couple hundred pounds of dry matter per acre of the sward eaten.”

Water – Providing access to water within each paddock differs for beef and dairy. While most dairy graziers rely on the cows drinking sufficient water in the barnyard, with beef, it’s a different story. “If you are a beef grazier, there is a large return on investment from animal gain if you can put water in each paddock,” says Munsch.

“Additionally, if you have water on the paddock, all of the nutrients the animals eat during the day will then be distributed there. So you have a better nutrient balance on the paddock.”

Shade – The Shade Haven mobile shade structure is a valuable tool for managed grazing. Before Shade Haven, graziers kept animals on paddocks that included trees on the hottest days.That put a restraint on our ability to match animals to where the grass was best for them that day,” notes Munsch, who appreciates his ability to move the shade.

“With Shade Haven, on those blistering hot days, I can put shade on the paddock with the best grass for those animals for that day.”

Rotational grazing vs. continuous grazing

“When plants are eaten off in a managed system, they are eaten off when there is as much plant material below the ground as there is above the ground,” explains Munsch.

Roots draw nutrients and moisture from the soil, while above ground photosynthesis takes place. “When those solar panels—the leaves—are eaten off, there is a huge energy store in the root system, so the plant can regrow,” says Munsch.

With continuous grazing, the animals eat the tender regrowth almost immediately. “The plant’s defense mechanism is to reduce the amount of roots it has, because it wants a balance between the ability of the plant to get energy from the sun and the ability of the plant to get nutrients and moisture from the soil.”

Eventually those plants die and all that remains on the pasture are plant species that grow very close to the ground. “From a production standpoint, you dramatically reduce the yield of dry matter when you continually graze, because you are reducing the ability of the plant to grow,” says Munsch. “And it is dramatic. A managed pasture system, where you allow the plant to regrow, can yield twice as much dry matter.”

The increased yield allows twice as many animals to graze on higher quality forage, resulting in more rapid weight gain. “I joke with people that if a seed corn salesman came onto your farm and said, ‘I can teach you to grow twice as much corn as you grow now,’ you would think he was crazy,” says Munsch. “But with pasture management, you can say that.”

 

Grass-Fed Galloways Love Shade at Weil Family Farm

Geoffrey Weil and Galloway calf, Weil Family Farm, Greensboro, NC

When Geoffrey and Tess Weil first encountered their 111-acre farm in Greensboro, North Carolina, they saw lush green rolling hills and a property they could restore to a working farm. They also envisioned an opportunity to raise cattle on grass without growth hormones or antibiotics.

The Weil Family Farm raises a hardy breed of Galloway cattle. The couple discovered the breed while on vacation in the Scottish Highlands. “When we came back, we did some research and discovered that not only are the Galloways a heritage breed, they are also on the conservancy watch list as a threatened breed,” notes Geoffrey Weil. “So, we’re also helping a threatened species establish its numbers.”

Thirty-two Galloway cattle, both black and white, graze the farm’s four 15-acre paddocks. Committed to sustainability and rotational grazing, the Weils use a Shade Haven mobile shade structure to get maximum impact from their pasture. “There are trees on the east side of the pasture, and no trees toward the west,” Weil explains. “In the morning the cows, luxuriate in the shadows created by the trees on the eastern part, and then in the afternoon they gravitate to the Shade Haven on the western part of the pasture.”

To prevent distress of land under the Shade Haven, Weil moves it sometimes two or three times daily. “It is very easy to re-deploy. In fact, the cows like it so much that when we move it to another area, they follow it as if it were a bucket of feed.”

The ease of moving the Shade Haven allows Weil to control the distribution of nutrients throughout the pasture. “I would recommend the Shade Haven to anyone interested in rotational grazing,” notes Weil. “At the same time, I’d recommend the Shade Haven to anyone who is trying to spread manure around the pasture and control where the cattle are eating.”

Weil disagrees with feeding grain to fatten cattle and hasten their time to market. “Integral to our vision of raising cows is that cows are not supposed to eat grain. We raise our cows on pastures of clover, fescue, and ryegrass.”

Galloway beef has won awards for its superior flavor. Ultimately the Weil Family Farm will sell its high-quality, grass-fed Galloway beef to individuals and local restaurants. “Since our cows can only eat grass and supplements that conform to AGBA standards, our cattle will take an extra year to get to market,” says Weil. “But it will be worth the wait.”

While grass is a must on Weil Family Farm, so is the Shade Haven.

“It’s funny the way our cows tend to gravitate toward the Shade Haven,” says Weil. “We leave it out all the time – unless we are expecting severe storms. Even when it’s cloudy, you find our cattle under the Shade Haven. It’s a comfort zone for them.”

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.