MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Cattlemen in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin have a new tool to help them in their fight against cattle disease and the early deterioration of concrete feed bunks.

An antimicrobial, antibacterial polyvinylchloride-based liner is being patented by Iowa Concrete Products as an addition to its selection of concrete feed bunks.

“A big thing now for cattlemen is disease transfer from cow to cow, and microorganisms won’t live on this sheet of plastic,” said Reece Lindstrom, who owns Iowa Concrete Products.

The liners also resist the elements and help the feed bunks last longer.

“In about 10 to 12 years, feed bunks can start to deteriorate, the acid in the feed does that and so does the action of the cattle’s tongues. This creates a barrier and a slick surface and helps prevent that,” Lindstrom said.

With the recent polar temperatures, the material of the liners resists weather damage.

“The cold and the hot really don’t bother it,” Lindstrom said.

Cattle comfort is a priority. The slick surface of the liner is kinder to cattle noses in texture and temperature, Lindstrom said.

The liners are connected to the feed bunks during the casting process. Lindstrom said the sheet of PVC material is formed to fit inside of the concrete mold. Cement is poured into the mold, bonding with the plastic.

Lindstrom said the liners, which debuted at trade shows in the spring of 2013, rapidly gained popularity.

“Within a year, we’re putting them in about 50 percent of the feed bunks that we make,” he said.

Iowa Concrete Products makes the products it sells. The company was founded in 1919 to make and sell burial vaults. In the early 1970s, agricultural products, including fenceline and H-style feed bunks, were added.

The company manufactures year-round and installs what it sells. The company serves Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.

“We have our own cement plant inside the building, and we pour everything here. We’re able to work all year that way,” Lindstrom said.

The company produces 1,200 to 1,400 feed bunks a year, and production has increased.

“We’ve increased pretty decently in the last few years,” Lindstrom said.