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Inside my barn

The Christensens’ new barn contains cattle working facilities, horse stalls, an office-vet room and a loading chute. It’s a lot easier and safer to work cattle inside the facility than outside, says Dale Christensen, who operates the 2,000-head feedlot near Beresford, S.D., with his brothers, Doug and Don, and parents, Marlow and Donna.

The use of Bud Box staging areas, wide overhead doors and double alleys reduces stress on the cattle. Workers are protected behind heavy steel gates and have ready access to protected areas. The Christensens borrowed ideas from sale barns and other feedlots when they designed the facility two years ago.

“I can’t think of anything we’d change,” Marlow says.

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LOOKING GOOD: Marlow Christensen likes the way the family’s new, modern cattle barn works and how it looks like part of their 100-year-old farmstead.

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DOCK EXTENSION: Doug Christensen moves the metal extension on the dock. It swivels to close the gap between the dock and the semitrailer deck. Truck drivers like it because they don’t have to exactly square with the dock.

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SOLID WALL: Six-foot-high concrete walls allow the building to be used as part of the feedlot alleys, without damaging the siding.

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DOUBLE ALLEY: Cattle move side by side down a double alley into the single-lane loading chute. They remain calm because they can see each other.

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WIDE DOORS: During an open house, neighbors check out the working chute and Bud Box staging areas. Cattle enter the barn through an overhead door that’s wide enough to accommodate several animals at once, which is a more natural way for herd animals to move.

This article published in the July, 2010 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.