The modern farmer is a sophisticated businessman. Show him how paved concrete feedlots or feeding floors will speed up livestock weight gain, resulting in higher profits, and you have a new customer for concrete. Farmers today are more likely to rely on professional builders and contractors than in the past; there are, of course, exceptions and many farmers are still accomplished constructors in their own right. Nevertheless, they have a need for information about new ways that concrete can serve to do old jobs better or accomplish new feats. This article outlines an interview with Portland Cement Association engineers in a farming region regarding the promotion of this market.
Does new technology increase the use of concrete? New methods have an effect. For example, instead of storing liquid manure in a pit below the floor of a livestock house farmers are now building outside tanks adjacent to the building. The outside tanks are easier to pump out. People are now getting into the market with concrete manure storage tanks. In Iowa and Nebraska we are beginning to see the use of concrete walls equipped with solar collectors for animal confinement buildings. There are several ways to use solar collectors on cast-in-place tilt-up or concrete masonry walls. These store heat during the daytime to warm the ventilation air at night. Probably the latest new application has been the use of passive solar heat in the floor.
Are there some identifiable submarkets? Yes. We could easily classify them as grain and feed storage, feed bunks, livestock buildings, foundations for manure-handling facilities, floors, hog-pen partitions, building walls and slabs on ground inside or outside, including feedlots. Then there are residential, earth-sheltered homes as well as drainage and irrigation.