Beef has had somewhat of a PR problem of late. From reports on global warming contribution to health concerns around the consumption of red meat, UK cattle farmers have faced a significant drop in the value of livestock during 2019. Wavering demand, a weak sterling and continued Brexit uncertainty has put UK meat producers under increasing pressure to cut costs, increase efficiencies and preserve margins.
Although US-style intensive beef farming has started to appear across the UK, British cattle are still predominantly grass-pasture fed. This produces around 35% less carbon footprint compared with the global average, and the meat contains healthier proteins and fats than cheaper imported varieties. Many British farmers are at pains to make this distinction and differentiate their product. Chris Mallon, Director of the National Beef Association (NBA) explains, “The UK is one most of the most sustainable places in the world to produce red meat because 60% of the land that makes up our agricultural landscapes is unsuitable for planting crops. Grazing livestock converts the naturally occurring grass into high quality protein, enabling the world’s growing population to be fed sustainably.”
Despite the challenges, there are various innovations on the market to assist UK farmers with balancing animal welfare and quality with economical production. In addition to new equipment, agricultural buildings are a key investment where an effective solution can bring a host of extra benefits to a farming operation. Cattle sheds, used to shelter the herd during the winter months have been traditionally brick built, and one of the most common types of cattle shed seen today is made from concrete walling and steel. In recent years however, the popularity of tensile fabric steel structures for this application has grown – and for good reason.
• Daylight – the light colour PVC coated fabric roofing allows natural light though, resulting in lower operational costs / energy savings and happier, more content animals.
• Ventilation – the naturally airy buildings are designed to provide optimum levels of ventilation to reduce the risk of livestock developing respiratory conditions.
• Fewer build materials – The lightweight properties of the fabric roof can accommodate larger constructions (8-40 metres) clear span width, without supporting pillars or columns. No groundworks are required, further reducing costs and accelerating installation times.
• Relocatable – an important advantage of this type of building is how they can be quickly and easily relocated. Relocation can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of demolishing/rebuilding permanent structures, and alterations such as canopies, links and extensions can help keep operations safe, flexible and reactive to changes in the market.
All tensile fabric buildings from Steel Span are produced to EN 1090-2 standards and are CE certified. Providing a durable solution for all weathers, the robust single-nave hot-dip galvanized roof truss is calculated to withstand maximum snow and wind loads according to EU standards. The structures can be fitted with a rolling, sectional or double-leaf gate, as well as additional pedestrian doors and transparent PVC foil windows with ventilation holes. The modern TFS farm building design is customisable and secure whether the requirement is for product, machinery storage or livestock housing.