Expanding Their Herd — and Their Bottom Line

After receiving approval to increase production numbers, Max and Jeanette McLean, owners of McLean Beef, began researching products that would help them expand in the most efficient, environmentally friendly way. They spent two years working with family and staff, touring feedlot operations, gathering and analyzing data, and formulating expansion plans.  

The culmination of their efforts stand side by side on their operation — two 80 ft. by 400 ft. Accu-Steel Crossover buildings that house the more than 1,600 head the McLeans prepare for market on a 150-day continuous cycle.

Multiple individuals worked together to identify the structures that would best fit the McLeans’ expansion goals — Tony Romshek, technical sales representative with Central Confinement Service Ltd.; Accu-Steel building solutions specialists; and the McLeans’ animal health manager, Lonnie Brown.

“Our main objectives in adding confinement facilities to our operation were to make the most efficient use of land and resources while continuing to protect the environment,” said Max McLean. “We wanted our investment to be as environmentally sound as possible. The buildings we chose have approval from the Department of Environmental Quality, and that endorsement helped substantiate our decision.”

The facilities feature cement floors with deep bedding packs that offer a cleaner, drier environment, and make dust and runoff easier to control. Ventilation is enhanced by a narrow opening at the roof’s peak — a unique Accu-Steel design — which keeps cattle more comfortable and bedding drier.

“We simply scrape the flooring about once a week and use the manure as fertilizer on our cropland,” McLean said. “No sediment basin or holding pond is required. The open ventilation design keeps odor at a minimum, and keeps cattle warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.”

McLean says the faciliites’ capability to reduce cattle stress in extreme weather and promote more consistent gains and herd health also influenced their decision-making process.

The sturdy cover offers the herd protection from extreme elements, which proves especially important in periods of extreme heat, when temperatures in the Crossover building average about 30 degrees cooler than outdoor lots. This protection helps minimize herd stress, encouraging feed intake and decreasing time to market.

“Because our herd will no longer be exposed to brutal weather, we anticipate an improved feed conversion rate of at least a half-pound or better per day,” McLean said. “That means significant cost savings in feed alone, not to mention enhanced animal health, less stress and no environmental concerns. The initial cost of installing the buildings is already being offset by healthier cattle, better manure, and more consistent weight gain.”

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