This outdoor wood furnace provides heat to the room where newborn calves are kept (shown in the background at right) as well as other areas around Dic-Wisco Farm in Dorchester, Wis.

With increasing oil prices, more and more dairy producers have expressed interest in outdoor wood furnaces, says a spokesman for Bob’s Dairy Supply in Dorchester, Wis.

One of those producers — Dick Rau — has invested in two furnaces to supply supplemental heat to his farm.

One of the furnaces, located between Rau’s house and a free-stall barn, heats the floor beneath the maternity pen and the little milkhouse where Rau puts his newborn calves. It also supplies heat to his house.

The furnace burns wood, and the heat generated from the “fire box” is used to warm a water supply. The heated water is then piped to the calving area and provides a radiant heat source beneath the floor.

Rau says the furnaces have been a good investment. Dic-Wisco Farm generates enough “burn-ables” from old torn-down barns and the like to keep the furnace well stoked.