As a livestock producer, your animals are your lifeblood. You may have raised many of them from birth, you spend every day caring for them, and they help support your family. Therefore, it’s understandable that want to provide the best care possible for them. You feed them the best food you can, you care for them when they’re sick, and you protect them from predators.
But are you caring for them by protecting them from the elements in the best way possible?
If this is your first time researching livestock barn curtains — or perhaps you are looking to replace your curtains — it’s important for you to understand (or be reminded) why they’re an effective part of housing your livestock.
Livestock Barn Curtain Benefits:
- Temperature Control
- Light Control
These are all great attributes of livestock barn curtains curtains, but which curtains should you invest in? The selection is endless. It may be tempting to choose the cheapest curtains possible — but it’s advisable that you consider quality over initial cost as well as total cost of ownership over up-front costs.
Why is quality important?
- Quality fabrics are long-lasting: Cheaper curtains break down faster, cracking and rendering the film coating useless and promoting infiltration. Quality fabrics can last 2-3 times as long as low-quality fabrics.
- Fewer Installation Costs: The less often you have to replace your curtains, the fewer times you have to pay installation costs.
These two factors alone reveal the truth about high-quality versus low-quality fabrics: while low-quality fabrics may be cheaper up front, the long-term investment for those same fabrics is higher than high-quality fabrics. High quality fabrics are reliable and incur less replacement costs overall.
So if quality is important, what should you look for?
- Look for non-breathable fabric over breathable fabric: This may sound counter-intuitive, but non-breathable fabrics allow curtains to be installed and adjusted easier than breathable fabrics. A high-quality fabric will have protective layers built in to keep the fabric intact longer and will allow for greater control of ventilation. A word of caution, though: non-breathable curtains may be no different than breathable curtains if the fabric isn’t adequate. Be sure your curtains are quality.
- Ensure your curtains are mildew and UV resistant: This will provide them optimal performance for outdoor exposure.
- Hems and RF Welding: Radio frequency (RF) welding is used to create the hems on quality curtains, bonding materials together through the use of electromagnetic energy.
- Pocket Hems: Pocket hems isolate wear and tear to the strongest point of the fabric and therefore offer longer fabric life. Curtains with pocket hems are less likely than other designs to come part due to the mechanical bond of the stitch.
Get the Most Out of Your Curtains
You can buy the best curtains in the world, but if you don’t care for them properly, they won’t be able to achieve their full protection potential. Here are some tips for caring for your curtains to keep them as effective as possible for as long as possible.
Cleaning & Maintenance Best Practices
- Don’t use a high pressure sprayer system on curtains: High pressure sprayers can peel paint off of aluminum siding; fabric isn’t designed to see that level of water pressure and can break down quicker if it’s used.
- Spray clean with garden hose type sprayer once a year: While high-pressure sprayers are discouraged, it’s still best practice to clean the fabric once a year. While our products are waterproof and impervious to dirt, mold can begin to grow on the dirt stuck to the surface. Proper cleaning with a garden hose once annually removes the dirt that induces mold growth, keeping both your curtains and your animals healthier.
- Don’t use cleaning chemicals on your curtains: While cleaning is important to the long life of your curtain fabric, harsh chemicals in cleaners can actually break it down quicker. Water is all you need to clean your fabric.
- Prevent rodent damage: Rodent infestations can cause damage to your curtains and also cause issues among your livestock. There are a number of easy things you can do to prevent this from happening.
- Cycle curtains once a month: Raising and lowering the curtain once a week during the hot months to disturb the curtains will deter rodents from making your curtains their home.
- Implement good rodent baiting practices: Placing bait stations around the barn at intervals of 25 feet or so helps to keep the rodent population down. Make sure you check these regularly.
- Keep weeds and other debris 18” from the barn wall: Cutting back or killing the growth of grass or weeds can reduce rodent activity around your facilities, as rodent traffic increases in grassy areas.
- Be sure to install your curtains properly: You can find installation tips in our Best Practices for Care and Maintenance of Herculite Ag Curtain Guide.
Now that you understand the importance and characteristics of livestock barn curtains in the health and safety of your livestock, you have the tools you need to determine which providers will serve you best for years to come.
Just remember that no matter the quality of fabric, proper care and maintenance is essential to ensuring the longest life possible. Considering total cost of ownership over the long run instead of up-front investment continually ensures the care of your livestock, your bottom line, and ultimately your family.