Smith Poultry Inc.: Improving Poultry Environments and Profits for Farmers
- Written by: Smith Poultry Inc.: Improving Poultry Environments and Profits for Farmers
- Produced by: Smith Poultry Inc.: Improving Poultry Environments and Profits for Farmers
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Smith Poultry Inc. (SPI) started as a small farm in 1978 in Blountsville, Ala., but has since sprouted into three branches throughout the state (including North Alabama Poultry in Albertville, Ala., and Smith Poultry of Moulton in Moulton, Ala.). SPI, which is owned by Tim Smith, now constructs and equips some of the best poultry houses in the South and supplies these, along with spray foam insulation and custom barn services, all across Alabama. According to Doug Dountz, SPI operations manager and estimator, the majority of commerce takes place in northern Alabama.
“We’re licensed in several states and have delivered houses from Missouri to Maryland,” Dountz relays. Once SPI signs a contract the company’s experienced staff of 35 and its framing subcontractors begin construction. This is one of the simpler parts of the process since the majority of chicken house frames are almost identical in construct with only the size to really differentiate them. The great source of variety, however, is in the equipment used to accessorize it. SPI uses high-quality components and repair parts from brands that are preferred by poultry producers, such as Chore-Time.
Chore-Time is a division of CTB Inc. and is one the leading designers, manufacturers and suppliers of poultry products systems (PPS) in the world. The strong ties that SPI shares with Chore-Time are highly beneficial. Chore-Time has top-of-the-line technology at its fingertips and is always looking for more ways to advance business for the poultry farmer via new products. SPI’s line of equipment is centered on Chore-Time products. “We’re tied in with Chore-Time, but we stock different fans, water and feed dispensers from other vendors to meet specific grower requests,” says Dountz.
Egging on Technological Developments
One aspect of SPI’s equipment line that has garnered the company a lot of business is the AirTight SprayFoam Insulation (ATSFI). After SPI became an ATSFI dealer in 2008, it became a favorite product overnight. ATSFI is polyurethane foam that’s sprayed on the sheeting attached to the house frame. The application of spray foam strengthens and tightens any structure, creates an air tight seal that eliminates air infiltration, reduces moisture, and eliminates convective looping – i.e. warm air rising and cold air falling.
ATSFI’s singular sealing characteristics reduce this temperature variance, and the structure is able to maintain a constant level of warm or cool air. This saves the owner a good deal of money when it comes to energy costs. SPI has done the math and estimates that using ATSFI has saved over $6,720 per month in propane gas usage, as well as reducing chicken mortality rate by approximately 10 percent. The way ATSFI adds structural integrity while creating a vapor barrier at the same time speaks highly of the product’s versatility.
Keeping the inside of the building at a constant temperature is excellent for the birds inside it, and ATSFI also inhibits moisture driven elements as well as insect penetration. This reduces feed contamination and various diseases in a variety of ways, and it also results in dryer litter and reduced litter caking. SPI uses this highly flexible product on construction of broiler houses (where chickens are raised for food), on pullet houses (where chickens are initially raised for egg laying), and on breeder houses (where chickens lay eggs).
The majority of SPI’s requests are for broiler houses, but it recently wrapped up work on a specially designed pullet house for a breeder farm that used ATSFI. SPI also has a close connection with Auburn University, and finished a 600-foot sidewall of a newly constructed poultry house to test out the different applications of ATSFI and insulation, particularly ventilation and airflow. In addition, SPI provides spray foam for residential and commercial structures to help maintain uniform temperature throughout a structure and cut energy use for heating and cooling from 20 to 50 percent; the product’s aged R-Value of 7 per inch (two times more than most products) adds tremendous structural integrity and creates a total vapor barrier at the same time to decrease energy waste and add value through new construction or retrofit.
Hatching New Ideas
While ATSFI continues to get a lot of attention, SPI has other equipment and products that the company makes available for its customers, many of which are available to view on the company’s website (smithpoultryalabama.com). If a requested item is not on the website, SPI is happy to locate the item and deliver it to the customer. Either way, the company does what it takes to fabricate a state-of-the-art poultry house by observing the latest trends in the agricultural market. “Modern poultry houses are run by computers; growers can even run their chicken houses from an iPhone,” Dountz says.
Even with the advances that have been made, poultry farmers still require a staff to maintain the building itself. Other than that, the computer controls the temperature and ventilation, as well as the water and feed distribution. Just as the farmers require a staff to check all these factors, SPI, as a general contractor, draws extensively from its trusted network of subcontractors and service personnel for both installation and service.
“It works a lot like residential construction,” says Dountz. “Once you find a quality framing crew, or a quality installation crew, we hang onto them. We’ve got some top-quality people here and we try to keep them busy.” SPI also has a team of farm support that’s available 24/7 via phone as well as an in-house customer service department, delivery personnel and a repair crew, all of whom have considerable experience in the agricultural field and first-hand knowledge of how to assess and aid a customer.
SPI places emphasis on quality not quantity, and the company’s framing crews complete an average of 12 to 24 houses per year (though they have completed up to 90 in a year). SPI understands that so much depends on what the grower needs and what will produce the best chicken. “A lot of companies are making moves toward the bigger houses – 39,600 square feet housing in excess of 40,000 chickens,” reflects Dountz. For nearly 35 years Smith Poultry Inc. has provided farmers with its innovative, efficient services, and the company will continue to assist in the finest single poultry house/barn construction, turnkey complex development and quality renovations.
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