Orvil Klassen wanted to keep his cattle warm in the winter. And, he wanted to keep them cool in the summer. With a movable windbreak, he does both.
Klassen designed and built "walls" of galvanized panels on the north side of his 600-head feedlot at Mountain Lake, in southwestern Minnesota. In the fall, the panels stay in a vertical position to block the howling winter winds on the prairie. But in the spring, he swings the panels to a horizontal position to allow air movement and provide shade from the summer sun.
Klassen says he tried other types of windbreaks before he built this one. Perforated plastic wasn't strong enough. Planking worked, but not very well. "This is just a big improvement over that," Klassen says.
He says a farmer in his area first built a similar windbreak. "He, too, was concerned that there wasn't enough air movement," Klassen says. "The idea kind of came from him."
The windbreak is made of 20-ga. galvanized roof decking with 3-in. corrugates. Each movable panel is made up of four smaller panels, each 2-ft. wide and 12-ft. long. Five-inch spaces between the smaller panels provide a 20% opening. A brace unhooks to let the panels swing, and bolts hold the panels in position. Each movable panel is supported on either side by pieces of pipe.
The windbreak sits on a 2-ft.-high cement wall that Klassen installed to make scraping and cleaning pens easier.
Although Klassen built the break himself, out-of-pocket costs ran about $150 for each panel.
Klassen says the design works well. "It's super in the winter," he says. "In the summer, you do notice on a hot day that the cattle will stand underneath in the shade."
And while no windbreak is perfect, Klassen still likes his. "It's the best I can do," he says. "I like the concept."
Daniels Manufacturing Company, Ainsworth, NE, holds a patent on the commercial design of the windbreak. A 60-ft.-long Daniels windbreak sells for about $3,500. For more information on a Daniels windbreak, contact the company at 402/387-1891.