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Solar-Heated Dairy Barn
"I've milked cows for 60 years and have seen nothing to compare anywhere with the comfort and labor-saving features of my solar-heated barn," says William Russ, who designed and did much of the construction on the barn himself.
  "What's great about this barn is that it doesn't have to be cleaned every day and it's warm and dry with air moving through from all directions. Cows are cleaner and more content. A conventional free-stall barn for 100 cows costs much more than I spent and has to be cleaned each day but is still forever damp. Total cost of my building was $82,000, including milking equipment."
  The key features are the slatted floor and the solar design which heats and provides light to the barn. The barn has a roof that slopes from 8 ft. tall on the lower end up to 22 ft. tall at the upper end. The south-facing side is covered with clear fiberglass roof panels that let heat and light inside. A feed bunk - which can be filled from outside the barn - is located at the base of the solar wall. Russ built free-stalls out of wood.
  "The first $10,000 went for excavation and cement work. The next $10,000 went for concrete slats. There are mattresses in the free stalls covered with a layer of sawdust.
  "There are ramps leading down into the pit so I can clean out with a skid steer loader or pump it out whenever I have time. Lets me clean on my schedule. I figure I'm eliminating the inconvenience and expense of a big lagoon and avoiding the labor requirement and machinery wear and tear of daily cleanup inside the barn.
  "Another savings is feeding into the bunk from outside the barn. I don't have to stop to open gates to chase cows out of the way. I can do the whole job in 5 min. from the seat of my tractor using a total mixed ration. I just open a line of access doors above the bunk."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, William Russ, 8309 Mitchell Rd., Roscoe, Ill. 61073 (ph 815 885-3465).

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1999 - Volume #23, Issue #2