Dr. Gary Bates
Rutherford County Farmer
Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner
UT Institute of Agriculture
Shaped for the future. This domed structure is called a Quonset-style barn. You wonít find animal stalls here, and note thereís no separate hay loft. Instead, itís a hay loft from the ground up.
We liked the way it looked. We liked the way the hay kept when it was stored in it.
Howard Arnold from Lascassas is one of the mid-stateís biggest hay producers. He sells two-thirds of his harvest to the public and the rest goes to his cattle. Of course he needs a place to store all that hay, so a few years ago, Arnold made the decision to build the Quonset barn.
Zero maintenance to the barn to this point and hopefully forever more. We put down plastic under our gravel here and the bottom rung of hay in this barn is just as good as the top.
Here are some of the particulars on Mr. Arnoldís barn. Itís a good-sized structure - 100 feet long and about 25 feet tall. And when itís full, it holds 468 big round bales. Arnold cut this hay almost a year ago, and it still retains its color and smell. He says thatís partly because of the air circulation in this barn.
The air flow is great. I think that adds to the quality of the hay because it does get a real good flow through here.
Barns come in all sizes, shapes and degrees of attractiveness. This cantilever barn in the Smoky Mountains is built with the roof jutting over the sides to create additional dry coverage. But while looks are nice and nostalgic, UT forage experts say whatís most important is a barnís effectiveness.
Dr. Gary Bates
One of the most expensive things that a cow-calf producer has to do is get this cows through the wintertime. And probably 75% of that expense is on the hay thatís needed. So anything you can do to cut down how much hay is required.
Tennessee farmers can also earn money - about $3500 - from the state Department of Agriculture.
As part of its agricultural enhancement program, producers can receive funds to build better barns for hay storage.
The nutrition is extremely important for a number of different reasons. But also the quantity of hay that we can save. Hay production is really an expensive thing.
Meantime, Howard Arnold tries to offset that expense with a Quonset barn he believes will last decades. Heís done nothing to it since tightening the last bolt except put good hay in and take good hay out.
This is Chuck Denney reporting.