Tag: Mobile Shade

What’s Your 2020 Regenerative Commitment?

Regenerative agriculture is creating a buzz throughout the food and agriculture world. It’s no longer enough to farm sustainably. We need to do more. As we head into a new decade, regenerative agriculture techniques should be the priority of everyone who cares about improving soils, producing healthy food and contributing to solving our climate change problem. Is Regenerative Agriculture among the values you prioritize in the new decade?

To identify farms embracing regenerative principles, look for the ones with the greenest pastures, greatest diversity, and animals on the land. Since grazing is a key component of regenerative agriculture, farmers need tools that allow them to keep their herds grazing even on the hottest days. If you drive through the countryside and see a Shade Haven mobile shade system it’s a clear sign of a farm’s commitment to regenerative agriculture. It’s a tool that enables the even distribution of nutrients to boost pasture health, while protecting livestock from heat stress to keep them grazing and productive.

“I’ve been rotationally grazing on my farm for 12 years, and I’ve used a Shade Haven for eight years,” says southwest Wisconsin farmer and Shade Haven founder Vince Hundt.

“It’s like an umbrella on an oasis – symbolizing healthy soil and healthy food,” adds Hundt. “This umbrella – this mobile shade system – along with rotational grazing practices builds organic matter, increases fertility and protects my farm from weather extremes.”

After experiencing record rainfall in 2018 and 2019, Hundt compared his farm to nearby farms utilizing conventional farming practices.

“My farm fared much better than others around me, because I rotationally graze,” says Hundt. “By grazing a paddock, then allowing a 30-40 day rest period before returning animals, we are building the soil’s capacity to hold water and withstand weather extremes. We have no exposed soil and a heavy, deep root system to soak up water and be there when you need it.”

Win, Win, Win

Regenerative agriculture is a win for farmers, human health and the planet – and grazing is a key component. By building soil, graziers are actually sequestering carbon and contributing to reversing climate change. And there is no denying the health benefits of grass-fed versus confinement-raised meat. Additionally studies have found that grass-based farms are economically competitive with their larger confinement counterparts.

“In the end, my revenues are the same or better than farms practicing confinement methods,” says Hundt . “I’m spending zero on fertilizer and weed control and , close to zero on veterinary costs.”

If you can farm in a way that is better for the environment, produces a healthier product and provides a bigger financial return, why wouldn’t you do it?

Tell us about your 2020 commitment to Regenerative Agriculture.

Grazing with Shade in Alabama

BDA Farm is a 6,200-acre certified organic produce and livestock operation in Uniontown, AL. With a focus on regenerative agriculture, BDA produces more than 40 varieties of vegetables and herbs and moves 1,000 beef, 500 sheep and 3,000 laying hens across 4,000+ acres.

“The role of our livestock is to convert grass to an end product, apply fertility and regenerate the soil,” says farm Manager Benjamin Moore, who refers to the livestock as “employees.”

Those employees need protection from the hot Alabama sun, and BDA found a shade solution that fits their grazing strategy. Since June, four SH1200 Shade Haven mobile shade systems have moved through the paddocks at BDA.

“They are extremely easy to move and very well designed. They have traveled across 6,000 acres,” says Moore. “We are pulling them with 4-wheelers, one man, no problem. We can get them through any of our gates.”

Repairing and rejuvenating the soil is top priority at BDA and mobile shade helps to build soil and maintain healthy pastures. “It allows us to avoid heat stress while keeping animals in places where we really need that impact,” says Moore. “With the Shade Haven – especially where we are reclaiming row crop land with no trees – we have the ability to better utilize the livestock by giving them a tool to do their job.”

The livestock at BDA are grazed using an adaptive grazing method. Adaptive grazing is intensive rotational grazing, varying grazing heights and rest periods, and adapting to changing conditions.

In operation since 2011, BDA sells its produce to CSA members, at farmers markets and to top restaurants in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham metro areas. The farm direct markets its proteins and also sells to conventional markets and processors.

“Our intent is to continually grow our direct market and let that compete with our wholesale,” says Moore. “We provide the scale that is appealing to wholesale buyers. All while we are trying to grow our brand…to meet the need of people looking for a more environmentally conscious, more health-conscious product.”

Shade Haven is proud to be part of the regenerative efforts at BDA Farm and wishes them continued success.

Learn more about BDA Farm at www.bdafarm.com

Fall Grazing with Greg Judy

Grazing expert Greg Judy shares his grass-growing and grazing expertise.

Frequent moves, never over grazing, and providing shade are all part of the grazing strategy on Greg Judy’s farms in Rucker, Missouri. Judy grazes South Poll cows, cow/calf pairs, bred heifers, bulls and stockers across 16 farms – four owned and 12 leased.

The two-a-day moves Judy makes with his cattle don’t slow down in the autumn months.  “That’s because we have been able to grow so much grass,” he explains.

According to Judy, having ample grass in the fall begins in the spring. “When you give your grass a little head start in the spring and you don’t over graze, it sends back more appendages…If you take off say 1/3 of the leaves, you are going to get more coming back. That is what we have done across all of our farms.”


Stockpiling period typically runs August 1 through the first killing frost. There are two stockpiling methods used by graziers. One is locking cattle down and preventing them from grazing a portion of the pasture. This, Judy says, is not a good strategy for success.

“The problem with that method is when you lock your cattle down on a smaller part of the farm, they over graze that area. You may even have to feed some hay to buy enough time for the rest of your farm to recover and grow stockpile.”

This method could even result in animals dropping weight, adds Judy. “They are used to being moved and all of the sudden you are locking them down. Your cows are losing condition going into winter.”

A better strategy is continually grazing cattle, making sure they never eat the grass down too short. Currently on the fourth rotation on his farms, Judy adds “As we graze around our farms, we are taking just the tips and moving on.”

A farm visitor recently asked Judy why he was moving the cattle when there was so much grass there. He replied, “That’s why I have all this grass. It’s because we moved them.”

The importance of shade

While this might be the time of year for stockpiling, it also includes some of the hottest grazing days. Providing shade for grazing cattle is a top priority for Judy. “We have 350 animals out there. If it’s 90 degrees, I want to make sure they can ALL get in the shade. That’s how important I think shade is.”

“We are in the weight conversion business. If animals are hot and they’re stressed, they are not putting on,” says Judy, using a phrase his father used. “They are not putting weight on.”

Judy’s farm is in an area with rolling hills and trees in every paddock. And while he doesn’t require movable shade himself, he notes for those without trees, “Moveable shade is best, because you’re moving the fertility around your pasture.”

While conducting a workshop in July, Judy observed two Shade Haven mobile shade systems. “It’s a great product, and the fact that you can hook it on to your Kubota and move it is priceless. It’s like planting a tree in your pasture every day that you move your animals. And you’re moving nutrients around. That’s what I like about it.”

No bare soil here

You won’t find bare soil anywhere on Judy’s farms.  That’s because he never lets cattle graze it down that far.

“You can’t intercept solar energy with bare soil. We call ourselves light interceptors. We are trying to intercept that sun before it hits that ground onto a blade of grass, or a bush or it might even be a weed – I don’t care as long as something is growing. I detest bare soil.”

The war against bare soil has an added benefit of easing the impact of weather extremes. “I think droughts and these weather extremes are getting more frequent. We are going to have to learn to manage around this,” notes Judy. “The way you manage around droughts is by keeping longer leaves on your plants. If you always manage your farm like you are in a drought, you will be in pretty good shape when you are in a drought.”

He knows he’s doing it right when his feet get wet walking through the pasture at 11 a.m. on a 90-degree day. “Why are my feet wet? It’s because of the dew. If you have a lot of leaves out there, they capture the dew. So your plants get a little bit of a drink, even in a drought. That’s all they need.”

Judy’s final fall tip for graziers: Observe the condition of your livestock. “In October, any animal on your farm that has a bone sticking out, get rid of it. Don’t take it through the winter. If it looks bad in October, guess what it’s going to look like in January? Don’t let her eat the precious feed that the good ones need. That’s a good way to go broke.”

Catch more grazing tips from Greg Judy on his YouTube channel or attend one of his upcoming workshops.

  • Sept 25-26, 2019 – Stockman GrassFarmer Multi-Species Grazing School, Albany, NY
  • October 6-7th, 2019 Carolina Meat Conference, Charlotte, NC

More information on Greg Judy and his farms at http://greenpasturesfarm.net/


Shade Improves Pasture Fertility in NC



Jerseys and Sheep with Shade Haven at Reverence Farms

Diversity reigns at Reverence Farms in Graham, North Carolina. Suzanne Nelson Karreman and her husband Hue operate this 400-acre farm with a focus on building soil and improving the pastures where dairy cattle, beef, sheep, pigs, horses, chickens and turkeys graze. To help them accomplish their goals, they utilize two Shade Haven mobile shade structures.

“It is one of my favorite tools. It is very easy to use, and I really couldn’t ask for a more effective fertility tool than the Shade Haven,” says Suzanne.

“We can target specific areas that have a lot of weeds or have low fertility and put the shade mobile on those spots,” explains this rotational grazier. “In the next rotation, the grass is a different texture, deeper in color, thicker and there is a wider diversity of plants where the Shade Haven has been.”

There is a hierarchy of forage consumption on Reverence Farms with the 60 mama Jersey cows getting the best grass. The farm’s 300 sheep graze paddocks with forage that the dairy cattle won’t or shouldn’t eat. That includes Kentucky-31 fescue, prevalent in the area.

The first of the farm’s SH1200 Shade Haven structures, purchased in 2015, is used to cool a herd of 35 Jersey bulls and bull calves – part of the farm’s impressive Jersey bull genetics program. The second Shade Haven, added last year, alternates between the other livestock as needed and is used frequently with the St. Croix sheep, a Caribbean hair sheep breed raised for meat.

While the farm has ample trees and shaded areas, Suzanne appreciates the ability to graze anytime on pastures without shade. “So we can keep fertility on the pasture,” she adds.

Observing how the different types of livestock use the Shade Haven, Suzanne notes that their breed of sheep don’t need shade as much as the cattle.  “The sheep use it and like it, and when it is hot, they will be under it, but the cattle are drawn to it like a magnet. You can move the cattle around the farm just by moving the shade.”

An added benefit is parasite control. “By always putting them on fresh ground, you are exposing the manure to sunshine the next day – because you’ve moved the Shade Haven,” she explains. “It is much easier for the manure patties to get burned out by the sun. In that way it is a health improvement for the cattle in terms of the level of fly pressure.”

Shade Haven is proud to be part of the success at Reverence Farms, which sells its products through its website and delivers to local drop points. Reverence Farms also has its own café which buys the farm’s beef, lamb, chicken, pork, turkey, eggs and will soon carry ice cream made with milk from the farm’s Jersey cows.

Learn more about Reverence Farms at www.reverencefarms.com.


Five Years with Shade Haven

Photo credit: Jamie Tiralla, All Ag Media

Jason Leavitt is the fourth generation to work his family farm situated between the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River in Owings, Maryland. Leavitt transitioned from mostly grain to grassfed beef, but with no trees in his pasture, he needed shade.

“I tried to construct my own with hay wagons, but once we had a thunderstorm it pretty much got annihilated,” says Leavitt. “I needed a legitimate mobile shade, so I looked around the internet and found Shade Haven.”

That was five years ago. Today this rotational grazier couldn’t be happier. “The Shade Haven pretty much enables us to do what we do,” says Leavitt. “From late May to mid-September, it is not unheard of for temps to be in the 90s, even 100 degrees. We run black Angus, and I, in good conscience, can’t send them out in the fields when it is 100 degrees and let them bake.”

Leavitt moves his 75 Angus daily. “I have to have something I can move from field to field with them. The Shade Haven works awesome. It’s phenomenally easy to use.”

After five years with a Shade Haven, Leavitt wouldn’t want to graze without it. Neither would his cows, who Leavitt says choose to be under the Shade Haven even in paddocks with natural shade.  “I think that is because there is natural convection, there is always somewhat of a breeze or air movement under there.”

The Shade Haven keeps the cows cool, happy and healthy, and it helps Leavitt maintain a healthy pasture. “With the Shade Haven, you have complete control of where the majority of the nutrients are disseminated – especially when it is hot outside,” he adds.

Though he hasn’t kept detailed records on production and conception rates, Leavitt is confident that both have improved since adding mobile shade. Last year was a record year for calves born on his farm. “We had 36 brood cows and 34 calves. That is the first time that has ever happened. Whether that is related to the Shade or the bull, I’m not exactly sure, but something is working out right.”

At the end of the grazing season, Leavitt will clean up his Shade and store it in his barn to prevent damage from snow and ice. He knows that with basic upkeep his SH1200 will be ready for another grazing season. “Just regular maintenance, greasing it, oiling it. I power wash it at the end of each year and put it away correctly in the winter. I’m amazed at the minimal amount of maintenance and attention it needs.”

To find out more about Leavitt’s farm, check out his website, wilsondowellfarms.com.  He sells his grassfed beef, pork and goat products through the website and through Southern Maryland Meats.

Grazing Made Possible with Shade


Five years ago, Robert Greenlaw left a desk job for the farm life when he inherited a portion of his grandfather’s farm in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Today he raises poultry and cattle on his 150-acre farm, Earth’s Echo Farm, about an hour outside of Washington D.C.

“I didn’t want to see it get developed,” says Greenlaw. “So, we decided to pack up and move back home to the family farm and make a go of it.”
After renovating the house and adding some out buildings, Greenlaw got started with chickens. “We did meat chickens first, then took on laying hens and eventually got into running cattle.”

Greenlaw rotationally grazes Hereford beef cattle, a breed his grandfather raised. He typically runs 20 to 30 cattle and finishes 10 to 15 per year. In May, he added a Shade Haven mobile shade system to his grazing strategy.
“With the amount of heat we have in the summer and only a few trees, we couldn’t be doing what we do without the Shade Haven,” says Greenlaw. “We use the Shade Haven six to eight months of the year. We move it every day.”

The grazing plan

Greenlaw makes the daily moves with a tractor or truck, moving the Shade Haven and a portable water tank within paddocks shaped with temporary polywire fencing. The pastures offer a variety of quality forage that ensures the cattle are consuming plenty of protein. “They are bulking up nicely… we are really pleased with how they are turning out. And the Shade Haven plays a big part in that,” says Greenlaw.

He makes mid-day moves when the sugars are highest, giving the cattle new grass along with the Shade Haven. “Immediately they are out and grazing again – it gets another afternoon meal into them.”

When he purchased the SH1200 Shade Haven, Greenlaw also purchased the Fly Control Bracket and Oiler/Scratcher. “That has really helped with fly control. It doesn’t eliminate flies entirely – I don’t think anything would – but it certainly has made them far more comfortable.”

There are many reasons for Greenlaw and his cows to love the Shade Haven. It prevents heat stress, improves dry matter intake, controls pests, and there’s one more benefit. “On the rare instance the cows get out, I can bring them back with the Shade Haven,” says Greenlaw. “We don’t do grain – so I can’t shake a bucket of grain at them. We just get to where they can see the Shade Haven and drive slowly back to where they are supposed to be.”

Greenlaw farms with his wife, Gini, and two children, ages 7 and 4, with one more on the way. The family markets the farm’s chicken, eggs and grass-fed beef at two nearby farmers markets.

“We are one of the few farms that is still actively farming. We are still out here trying to make a go of it,” says Greenlaw. “Everything is grass-fed, grass-finished. And the Shade Haven makes this all possible.”

For more information on Earth’s Echo Farm, check out its Facebook page or visit www.earthsechofarm.com

Shade Haven: Your Instant Savanna


A grass-based farmer is an ecologist. He is concerned with the whole world he is creating, the interplay of plants and animals, microorganisms and weather. He strives for a system that is balanced on its own, without any need for purchased inputs, able to tolerate extremes of rain and drought.

The ultimate grass farm is the savanna. The savanna is grass and trees together, sustained by and helping to sustain herds of herbivores who in turn support a network of large predators. Grass feeds the large animals, who then fertilize and revive the plains that they traverse. The savanna is a highly productive grassland ecosystem that permits the coexistence of the largest number and variety of species. Yet, through human error or ecological catastrophe, savanna can become desert.

In her book “Cows Save the Planet,” author Judith Schwartz writes, “…attend to the needs of the soil, and the ecological cycles will begin to get back in sync.”

The book, which Schwartz deems a “call to action on behalf of the soil,” sheds hope on what seems to be a dire environmental predicament. That hope is in the form of managed grazing “as a tool for preventing or reversing the desertification process.”

Judith D. Schwartz

In the chapter “The Making And Unmaking Of Deserts – The Grazing Paradox” Schwartz reports that worldwide roughly 30 million acres of “productive land are lost to desertification” annually.

“Today 1.5 billion people depend for their food and livelihoods on land that is losing its capacity to sustain vegetation,” she writes. The cause is largely man-made and “driven by actions that disturb the lifecycles of many plants and animal species…poor irrigation design, poor livestock management and the use of technology ill-suited to the landscape.”

By cutting down trees, over-grazing, or improperly tilling the soil, humans can cause topsoil built over thousands of years to disappear in a generation.  A grass farmer keeps his land and animals thriving by keeping the land covered with mother earth’s loving blanket of living, heavy sod. His main tool in doing this is moving his cattle, moving throughout the seasons, like the prehistoric herds.

Desertification, climate change and biodiversity share similar outcomes and must all be part of the discussion when considering the fate of the soil and its ability to sustain life. Schwartz points out that desertification is not just a problem in Africa and the southern hemisphere. She notes that North America is the continent with the “highest portion of its dryland areas classified as severe or moderately desertified.”

Schwartz praises Allen Savory’s Holistic Management approach of using livestock to restore the land. She writes, “So if domestic herbivores can be managed such that their behavior mimics that of their wild counterparts, the grasslands – the African savanna or the U.S. prairies and plains, terrain that represents about 45 percent of all the land worldwide – will regain the state of wild land: healthy, diverse, and resilient.”

The mobile shade solution

Shade Haven mobile shade structures can help farmers mimic that behavior to create their own savanna, providing shade wherever the impact of cattle is most needed –keeping the cattle moving and improving soil health, while also improving profitability and animal comfort.

“You are kind of creating microclimates, which makes a lot of sense,” says Schwartz, who notes that her primary focus of research was soil. And while every system and ecological place is unique, farmers “figure out what works with what they have.”

“Nature has figured out what the soil needs and what the plants need. Let’s learn from that,” adds Schwartz. “Part of that system of moving nutrients around are the animals.”

While there are different ways to graze cattle, one fact remains consistent. “In the areas of the world where there are grasslands with deep rich soil, those soils have been created by animals,” notes Schwartz. “We can’t expect to have those rich soils without a system that includes grazing animals.”

Read it!
For more information on Judith Schwartz or to purchase “Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth” visit her website. Also check out Schwartz’s newest book “Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World,” which includes stories of innovators who thrive by working with the water cycle.

Contact us today to add mobile shade to your grazing system.

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.

Span: 30 ft.
Height: 9.5 ft.
Shade Area: 600 sq. ft.
Weight: 2000 lbs.

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

Contact us today!


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.