Shade encourages cows to keep eating and can reduce heat stress in summer.

Shade Cloth

Shade cloth can block around 80% of solar radiation and is a cheap option if well-constructed and maintained (lifespan around 10 years).

It is recommended you consult a structural engineer or a registered builder to ensure maximum shade and safety. Before finalising design, consider:

  • Fabric – consider colour, weave, grams per square metre as all affect capacity to block sunlight
  • Support posts and foundations – structural grade steel and concrete footings are essential
  • Fastenings – select attachments carefully – excessive flexing encourages cloth deterioration and flapping noise can cause cows to baulk
  • Load – Loads on the structure need to be transferred through the structure into the ground. Consider wind load and lift , dead load (weight of structure) and live load (temporary load of water pooling etc.)
  • Height – A minimum height of 4 m is recommended
  • Orientation – consider the angle of winter and summer sun
  • Drainage – any drainage should be directed to formed drain

Solid Roofs

A solid roof over a feed pad is a more significant investment than shade cloth but can make a big impact on overall farm productivity, particularly if you farm in a hot area.

Solid roofs provide excellent protection from solar radiation – but they must be well designed and constructed. It is recommended you consult a structural engineer or a registered builder to ensure maximum shade and safety. Before finalising design, read the following fact sheet:

  • Roofing material – choose a long-lasting cladding that increases solar reflection
  • Height – consider machinery access, 3.7 m is considered a minimum
  • Pitch – roof pitch influences air movement – the steeper the pitch, the greater the air movement
  • Ridge opening – an open ridge space at the top of the roof allows heat to escape and increases air flow
  • Eaves and guttering – eave overhang for side opening sheds is 900 mm
  • Orientation – Consider the angle of winter and summer sun and whether you want feed area under shade at all time
  • Effluent management system – an effective system of handling effluent and run-off is essential