12 July 2002

Finishing yards unique design

A UNIQUE finishing yard design is proving that innovation is still alive in the livestock sector.

The new yard, basically a shed without a roof, caused some concern when Paul Rackham first mooted the idea.

Farm foreman, Steve Suggett, was sceptical about whether cattle would be happy in the new unit and worried growth rates might be compromised.

"Despite only having been operational for four months, we are already planning to erect another larger yard adjacent to the first one. The yard has already been operational through the very wet period earlier this year and held up well," says Phil Dale.

The yard holds about 400 cattle, the new one, to be built later in the year, will hold at least 600.

At first sight the new yard may look slightly strange. But cattle seem to perform as well in this as they do in the sheds and without the need for extra space set aside as a loafing yard, says Mr Dale.

The principal behind the design is similar to that of a woodchip corral, but, with cheap straw available in East Anglia, straw seemed the obvious option.