To the best of my knowledge, when we built them in 1989, these were the first tunnel/natural ventilated houses constructed in the state,” explained Rodney Bowden at his family farm near Clinton, NC. “We’ve always had good results in the buildings, but the recent upgrades have improved our performance.”
Rodney added two GrowerSELECT 54″ AirStorm fans per house to increase airspeed and reduce the ambient temperature. The durable AirStorm 54″ fans feature a fiberglass housing, plastic shutters, and a stainless steel prop.
The next step in the upgrade was to replace the original feed pans with GrowerSELECT Classic Flood feeders. Rodney said, “Installing the new pans helps minimize wasted feed when the birds are young and has improved my feed conversion during grow out.”
These investments have paid off with an increased bird performance and helped Rodney settle in first place among his group several times since the upgrade.
Click GrowerSELECT for more information about our quality feeding and ventilation systems.
Management expert Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” We believe this is particularly true when it comes to developing, improving and testing ventilation fans.
Hog Slat’s AirStorm and Windstorm ventilation fans are designed and tested using an Airflow Performance Test Chamber, or as it more commonly known, a Wind Tunnel. Measuring 10′ x 10′ x 28′ long, the Wind Tunnel was constructed according to AMCA standard 210 and installed at the Clinton, NC facility in May 2015.
Fans to be tested are fixed in place on one end of the Wind Tunnel.
A 48″ axial vane fan, powered by a 20 hp motor, located on the opposite end of the tunnel, forces air into the chamber.
After passing through a series of mesh straighteners, the air is then forced through a nozzle wall consisting of metal cones that can be opened and closed to change available square inches of space.
Two devices, called Differential Pressure Transmitters, measure and record the static pressure differential on each side of the nozzle wall. To maintain precise accuracy, the transmitters are calibrated monthly and are also returned to the manufacturer for a factory re-calibration once per year.
One of the key features of Hog Slat’s test chamber is the automated recording system that records data without any manual input from an operator. The Wind Tunnel is ramped up from zero to maximum static pressure while up to two data points per second are recorded in real time. This automated recording system is a custom program developed by a team from Hog Slat’s engineering group. This allows Wind Tunnel technician, Matt Parker, to supply the engineering group with a complete fan performance graph instead of limiting the information to only a few selected data points.
Lead engineer for ventilation products, Tyler Marion explains; “Having a Wind Tunnel in-house allows us to quickly break down a fan by critical components and test multiple variables quickly. We are able to test different motor/fan combinations, shutter designs, and cone styles to constantly improve the fans Hog Slat delivers to our customers.”
Hog Slat’s Wind Tunnel is not only used for fan testing and development, it also serves as a Quality Control check on products received from suppliers. The photo above shows a galvanized prop mounted in standard fan ring. In this case, the initial run of product from the vendor is being checked against the approved sample. This testing continues for each production run to ensure the same performance levels from lot to lot. QC checks are also run for completed fans pulled from inventory and checked against published standards for airflow, CFM/watt and motor amperage.
A new addition to our fan testing equipment is the device called a Thrust Tester. The Thrust Tester measures the amount of thrust (lbf or pounds of force) a stir or circulation fan develops. It also measures the thrust efficiency ratio of a fan by dividing the lbf by kWs used. Although the Thrust Test is a stand-alone unit, it is tied into the Wind Tunnel transmitters to record the data. Matt also records centerline velocity at distances five times the prop diameter.
To see more on Hog Slat’s complete line of AirStorm fiberglass and Windstorm galvanized ventilation fans go to www.hogslat.com or call 800-949-4647.
“These chicken houses are my family’s life; they’re our investment,” stated Wesley Mewborn. “As a new grower, I trusted the folks at Hog Slat to provide the right equipment and follow up service. So far, they haven’t let me down.”
After spending 13 years in the retail hardware business, Wesley, and his wife, Robin purchased land near Kenansville, NC and constructed six, 46′ x 600′ broiler houses in Oct 2014.
A Hired Hand 4000 computer controls a total of 14 52″ galvanized Windstorm fans in each house along with winter air inlets. The arrival of warm weather begins the transition to evaporative cooling by opening the tunnel curtains and powering on the EVAP Cooling system.
The houses feature two GrowerSELECT feed lines using Classic Flood pan feeders with extended fins. Water is provided by four drinker lines regulated with a Plasson Water-On-Demand system.
“Raising chickens really just comes down to providing good air, feed, and water,” Wesley explained. “The more time you spend in the houses making sure that happens, the better the final results. The equipment in my houses provide me with the tools to be successful.”
This spring, the Mewborn family added six more broiler houses to the farm. “We really didn’t change much,” Wesley said, “other than moving the brood area to the middle.” We plan on installing the Hired Hand Farm Manager system to provide real-time remote monitoring. It will give me the ability to check conditions in the houses and even make changes when I’m not there. It ties into the Farm Alarm and notifies me when there’s a problem.”
“Chicken farming is a great lifestyle for a family. My kids, Layla and Macy, come to the farm every day, and that means a lot. Robin and I feel like we are building a good business and good family.”
When it comes down to it, the cost of manufacturing a high-quality product is the same for most companies producing equipment for the livestock and poultry markets. Most companies have identified the most efficient methods to build an anchor bearing, motor, feeder, nipple waterers, etc.
The real cost difference comes from the delivery of those products to the end user. The standard model of distribution, in our industry, involves a manufacturer producing a product line, warehousing it, and employing a sales force to establish a dealer network.
The dealer network stocks the equipment, maintains a storefront, hires salespeople, installs, and services the production systems in a local area for the brand of equipment they represent.
This particular type of distribution model has changed very little over the history of the livestock and poultry production industries. Each member of this distribution model is an independent business entity and is free to add whatever margins they deem necessary (or possible) to the final cost a producer pays.
Sold through a different type of distribution model, GrowerSELECT goes directly to livestock and poultry growers through our network of regional local stores. Because we own the distribution chain from top to bottom, we add only ONE MARKUP over our cost.
Our cost is based on finished goods plus ONE MARKUP vs. MULTIPLE MARKUPS from the typical distribution model.
Also, we would suggest that we are the low-cost producer for most products. Wait a minute; the first paragraph said the cost of manufacturing was the same for everyone.
True. But if a brand has a loyal dealer network, the pricing to the dealer network will not be challenged. A loyal dealer will continue to buy brand name products even if the cost is excessive.
Name brand motors are a perfect example of this. An auger or fan company buys a motor from a motor manufacturer, puts their logo on it and sells it to a local supplier. The local supplier sells the motor to the end user adding little value to the final price. A local supplier has few other options. Their volume of a particular motor isn’t high enough to go directly to a motor manufacturer, and they have little negotiating power with their chosen brand vendor. The brand company has little incentive to lower the cost to a loyal dealer network. In fact, a brand company can charge different prices in different geographical locations depending on market pressure.
Compare this with GrowerSELECT motors. Our network of over 70 store locations and turnkey construction business allows for large purchases of motors direct from a manufacturer. We forecast purchase amounts for each store location and ship directly with minimal warehousing cost. Local retail pricing continually drives us to buy at a more competitive price.
The conventional distribution chain is directed from the TOP DOWN versus the GrowerSELECT model which is driven from the BOTTOM UP. Lower pricing for comparable products is the result.
The GrowerSELECT distribution model also affects product responsibility. Because we interact directly with the end users, we deal directly with any problems arising with the installed products. We sell it; we service it, and the end user works with one company.
The traditional marketing chain allows room for some question regarding who is responsible for dealing with equipment failures when those problems arise. The manufacturer can blame poor installation, dealer system design, or a number of other reasons (excuses) for a product’s failure. A local supplier can blame the brand company for poor design or manufacturing flaws. The GrowerSELECT distribution system eliminates “finger pointing” and focuses on providing accountability to each and every customer.
Our customers produce commodities. The lowest cost commodity producer is always the most successful. Our mission is to provide our customers long term value at the lowest possible cost.
Ask yourself this question; “Are all the manufacturers, distributors, dealers, installers, and service personnel creating ADDED VALUE in the distribution chain I buy from?” If you hesitated while answering that question, take the next step by changing the way you buy and implementing GrowerSELECT equipment into your operation.
To contact a sales representative in your area or find our nearest locations to you, click here.
“The chicken business works good with land and cattle,” Gene Williams commented as he looked out across the pasture next to his farm outside of Everett Springs, GA. “The land gives you a place to spread the litter; the chicken litter builds up the pastures, and the poultry checks provide a steady income when cattle prices are tough.”
Gene and Phyllis Williams have included poultry farming in building their family’s business for over 40 years. Starting with a registered Angus herd, they expanded into the poultry business by leasing two breeder houses in 1975, followed by building three new broiler houses in 1978. In 1994, the family business grew to include The Calhoun Stockyard, and again when oldest son Michael and his wife Shelby made the decision to build four new broiler houses in 2003.
Their middle son, Adam, and wife Jenny moved back to the farm in 2013. In 2014, the two older sons joined with younger brother, Jacob, and his wife Natalie, to purchase a neighboring land tract to form the Circle W Ranch entity. Central to this expansion was the construction of eight 66′ x 600′ broiler houses, each capable of holding 62,000 birds per flock.
The tunnel ventilated houses feature Windstorm 54″ exhaust fans, Hog Slat EVAP Systems, and TEGO tunnel doors, regulated by a Rotem control system. The GrowerSELECT feed system utilizes Classic Flood feed pans along with supplemental feeders in the brooder section. One notable feature is a dedicated feed line with Hi-Grow feeders, used for the first ten days of a new flock and then winched up out of the way. Also, a special hanger line above each feed line permits storage of the Hi-Grow feeders inside the house.
Still actively involved in the daily farming operations, Gene and Phyllis continue to influence the education and work ethic of the ten grandchildren joining the family workforce.