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Can You Use A Strip Door?
Agriculture is constantly borrowing good ideas from industry and here's one that's starting to catch on fast, particularly with dairyman. It's a plastic strip door that cattle, people or equipment can move through, yet provides an effective barrier to cold air, rain, snow, birds, flies and other pests. It's completely self-opening and closing - animals, vehicles or people move right through it. As they do, the strips automatically fall back into place to completely and immediately seal the opening.
Among the first farmers to try the new-style door are Allen and Donald Pollard, of Merlin, Ont., Canada. Dairy cows in their 100-head free stall barn were getting chapped and frozen teats from cold wind blowing through the open doors, yet there was no easy way to open and close the doors when cattle went in and out to the feedbunk.
The solution was to cover the door way with plastic overlaping strips that push open easily, then fall back into place. The vinyl strips come in a variety of widths and types (the Pollards used reinforced 16 in. wide strips). Individual strips attach with special brackets to the door header and hang down in an overlapped fashion to provide a solid door that is flexible and transparent.
To get cows accustomed to going through the plastic barrier, the Pollards left the center strips off at first. After the cows passed through a few times, the center strips were added to form a solid door. "The cows go in and out through the door without any problems whatsoever," Alan Pollard told FARM SHOW.
Cost of plastic strip doors varies, depending on size of door opening, amount of overlap and type of plastic used. A dealer in Wisconsin recommends 12 in. wide strips with 2/3 overlap of the strips. Including the mountings, this installation would cost right at $5 per square foot of door area.
One of several companies making plastic strip doors is Frommelt Industries, Inc., of Dubuque, Iowa. A spokesman for the company told FARM SHOW that the plastic used is Koroclear Vinyl, which is fireproof and has an 80% transmission of light, compared to 90% transmission for ordinary glass. The insulating value of a plastic door is comparable to a concrete wall 1 in. thick.
The vinyl strips come in widths from 6 in. to 16 in. Thicknesses range from .040 in. to .160 in. The material stands temperatures from -40? to +150? F.
For more information from the manufacturer, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Frommelt Industries, Inc., P. 0. Box 1200, Dubuque, Iowa 52001 (ph 319 556-2020).
In England, a strip door called Yieldor is catching on fast. The plastic strips have practically eliminated cold drafts during winter, as well as keeping out dust, flies and insects during warm weather. Operating by cow power, they save the cost of more elaborate door systems, reports Keith Swannack, Wield Wood Alresford, Hants, Eng. In addition to dairy barns, the strip-type plastic doors are being used in hog barns, and on farm buildings to keep out starlings and other pest birds.

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1980 - Volume #4, Issue #1