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Why shade is important for Thomas Foods Feedlot

ALFA recently hosted its "Going Under Cover" feedlot tour, looking at shade and covered housing systems fit for Australian feedlots.


On this tour, we spoke with Tom Green from Thomas Foods International (TFI) to discover how they came about implementing shade at their Southern Cross Feedlot, situated near Tintinara in South Australia.

The understanding that shade is one of the keys to ensuring animal welfare, and the social acceptance that follows, has been a driver for the installation of shade at TFI's Southern Cross Feedlot.


From its beginnings as a small family owned and operated feedlot in the early 1990’s, Southern Cross Feedlot is now a modern and efficient facility with integrated farming and feedlot operations.


The feedlot's General Manager, Tom Green, spoke of Tininara's typical southern Australian temperate with hot and dry summers, and their choice of shade cloth by NetPro for their shading system.


"Here at Thomas Foods, we utilise a shade cloth so the animals get three and a half square meters of shade per head" he said, "The shade cloth style works best for us, as it was adaptable and easily retrofitted over our feedlot."


"We've seen a real change in the behaviour of our cattle in summer; now with shade we see a high level of comfort, a lower level of irritation and higher consumption"

Tom said that the key driver for constructing shade was animal welfare, but being a customer facing business, the shade installation was also important for the company's social licence.


"It's really socially important we shelter these cattle" he explained, "the perception and social acceptance is critical, and the uptake of shade throughout the industry is really helping us"


"Shade here at the feedlot is seen as a requirement now. Around the world we often get asked what shade and shelter systems we use, and having these systems in place really gives us an international advantage"

Before installing shade, TFI looked at other operators and worked on how much shade they needed, and the design of the shelter that would best fit their operation.


"It's a reality that the production benefits are real," Tom noted, "for those operators looking to install shade or shelter in the coming years, it's really important to get out there and look at other producers and their different styles of shade."

"Each site is unique and needs a unique solution"

This case study was filmed on ALFA's 'Going Under Cover' feedlot tour, looking at shade and covered housing systems fit for Australian feedlots.


Australian feedlots are working towards providing all cattle under their care with access to shade, demonstrating the strong collective commitment the Australian cattle feedlot industry has towards animal welfare.


The ALFA Shade Hub provides all the tools and information you need to know about the benefits of shade. Visit www.feedlots.com.au/shade


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