Off to the Races: Canadian OSB and SPF Used in AI Building at Horse Farm in Hokkaido

By: Scott Anderson

Canada Wood Japan / APA representative

I recently attended the Tokachi 2×4 Association’s New Year event in Obihiro, Hokkaido. Despite the cold weather, the warm hospitality from the association’s members, who are staunch supporters of Canada and the 2×4 construction method, was heartening.

During my visit, I explored a new facility under construction at the Banei Tokachi Ranch, conveniently located less than 5 minutes from the airport. The company specializes in breeding, raising, and trading livestock, focusing on horses. Currently, the ranch is home to about 200 horses, many of which participate in Banei Horse Racing. This unique event features horses weighing over 1 ton pulling iron sleds loaded with weights across a straight course. It honors Hokkaido’s history, where horses played a crucial role in clearing land and aiding in agriculture and timber production, and has become a part of the region’s heritage.

The building, intended as a center for managing the horses’ artificial insemination process, measures approximately 27 meters in length and 18 meters in width, totaling around 500 m². It utilizes 2×10 SPF dimension lumber for the walls, sheathed with 3×6, 12 mm Canadian OSB. The roof joists are also made of 2×10 SPF lumber, supported by large LVL trusses constructed from Douglas fir or larch. Maruju Lumber, a member of the local Tokachi 2×4 Association and a long-time collaborator with Canada Wood, supplied the materials and construction labor. This partnership highlights the promotion of the 2×4 construction method across Hokkaido and Japan.

Given Hokkaido’s significance as an agricultural hub in Japan, wooden structures are increasingly preferred over steel for their economic and environmental benefits. While artificial intelligence (“AI”) is a hot topic globally, this AI facility stands as a testament to the sustainable use of wood in constructing robust agricultural buildings. Hopefully, it will also contribute to breeding championship racehorses in the future.