Building the modern beef barn

Rural Builder staff had the opportunity of watching the building of a modern beef barn step-by-step from the ground up last summer, in fact two barns in the span of one year. It’s uncommon because our offices are located in Central Wisconsin dairy country.

“I’ve been planning this for a lot of years,” said the owner, farmer Dave Eron, Stevens Point. Starting out as farm renters, he and his wife, Robyn, purchased their current farm, then just 240 acres, in 2008. Today, their farm has expanded to 500 acres.

Eron beef barns

Owner Dave Eron now operates Eron Beef LLC out of two new post-frame barns, both completed in 2015, near Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The calf barn is under construction in this photo. The finishing barn is to the right.

As a young farmer with a lot riding on his decisions, he wanted to make sure he got his money’s worth with his new barns. He studied his options carefully, consulted with various engineers and spent hours just watching his herd of Holstein steers to determine how to raise contented, healthy cattle and consequently his own profits. Having building crews open to his requests, which he admits were at some times demanding, was paramount to the process. “I spent [a lot of time and money] up front to get what I wanted,” he said.

OPEN HOUSE ….. Wieser Concrete is sponsoring an open house at the Eron Beef Farm, 3703 Custer Road, Stevens Point, August 30, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Each of the two post-frame barns built by Forest Construction, Luxemburg, sit over 12-foot deep Pan-L-Bilt manure pits from Wieser Concrete Products Inc., Maiden Rock. Spiegelberg Implement, Weyauwega, provided custom work on the exterior walls and pen dividers, feed rails and gates. Eron served as his own engineer and excavator.

Wieser Concrete

Wieser Bros. Concrete erected the pre-cast, 12-foot deep pit over a 6-inch poured Ready-Mix floor. Eron wanted drive-through feeding inside the barn, so extra posts and support beams in the pit allow for more strength above for heavy equipment.

The larger of the two barns, 105×325 feet, was built first in the winter of 2014-2015 for finishing cattle. The smaller, 90×325 feet barn was built in 88 days over the summer of 2015 to house calves purchased at 350 pounds. Seven days after completion of the calf barn, the first shipment of calves arrived. The animals will spend about six months in each facility before heading to market.

Eron has been pleased with the results so far, with the first round of cattle requiring 10 percent less feed than his open-lot herd, and finishing for market sooner than expected. RB


Listening to the customer

Feeding cattle inside the Eron beef barn

Feeding is done inside the barn thanks to extra pillars built in the manure pit to allow for heavy traffic above.

Dave Eron said he was a demanding customer, but that’s to be expected when your livelihood depends on the outcome. Both Wieser and Forest Construction spokesmen weigh in on the Eron Beef project and in general how they handle customer relations.

“One of our biggest reasons for being successful is because we listen to our customers and do everything we can to try and meet their needs. For example Dave had mentioned the square edges on our walk-through to the drover lane would be more animal friendly if they were rounded, so we changed the 90 degree corner to a miter corner. We also changed our load design for our drive-through to meet Dave’s needs for his feeding-load capacity. These are just a few examples of what we do to try and give our customers the best product to fit their needs. Customer relations are very important in the success we’ve had in the industry.”

– Dan McKinney, project superintendent, Wieser Concrete Products Inc

“Farming… is definitely more sophisticated today. Farmers no longer have to be just farmers, they also have to be business managers.

“Also our projects have become focused more on improvements technologically, and along with that, the looks of the building. It is not just the functionality, it also has to look good.

“We are a custom builder so we will tailor the project according to the individual’s need no matter how demanding that might be.

“Dave Eron knows exactly what he wants. Along the way we put it out that if we were doing anything aside from what he envisioned, to let us know and we would accommodate that.”

– Aaron Nimmer, Forest Construction, Luxemburg, Wisconsin

Eron Beef Farm, rounded walk-throughs

Corners at walk-throughs were rounded at Eron’s request for cattle safety so cattle could be moved in and out of pens without injury or bruising.

Wieser 12-foot deep Pan-L-Bilt manure pits

Wieser Bros. Concrete erected the pre-cast, 12-foot deep pit over a 6-inch poured Ready-Mix floor. Eron wanted drive-through feeding inside the barn, so extra posts and support beams in the pit allow for more strength above for heavy equipment.

Eron Beef Farm bird deterrent trusses

Bird deterrent design is at play throughout the two barns.

natural ventilation

Eron discovered that an open-ridge roof is an economical option for naturally vented, slatted floor livestock barns like his.

Dave Eron

Dave Eron hasn’t stopped watching his cows closely now that the barns are built and occupied, knowing that they will let him know what they need. An example: when the cattle started scratching themselves on the sidewall cable system, he bought them a back scratcher. Voila! “Now they don’t rub themselves on the cable,” he said.

Eron barns cable system

A sturdy cable system is used as sidewalls, the spacing determined so that older and younger cattle can’t breach the gaps and create a safety hazard.

floor of manure pit

Construction started with a 6-inch Ready-Mix floor in the future 12-foot deep manure pit.

Eron Beef office space

Space for a future office has been included in the calf barn.

Eron Beef Farm

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