Storing farming equipment, crop or even livestock in an Agricultural Building is integral to a smooth agriculture operation. Even though you may live in a region with mild weather it’s
important to provide shelter for your machinery, livestock and produce. The vast majority of farm storage buildings are made from
steel barn kits. Steel has a very high strength to weight ratio enabling it to withstand even the harshest conditions, and is also economically
more efficient than lumber, costing on average 35 to 45 percent less than a building constructed out of other materials.
So what type of storage units will you need on your farm? The three most popular, and overall beneficial storage buildings on a farm are machine
storage units, livestock storage units, and storage units for hay and other produce.
Agricultural Buildings for Farm Equipment
Protecting your machines from rain, snow and excessive heat, as well interference
from animals and other people can drastically increase your machinery’s
lifespan. In a survey published by Farm Building News, it was discovered
that farm equipment which was stored under cover had a much greater
trade-in value than equipment that was stored outdoors. On average
owners of the machinery stored indoors saved 3 percent of the vehicles
initial cost annually.
It’s important to put some thought into where on your land you would like your building
situated. It may be beneficial to build your machinery storage unit near
to both your living structure and the farm shop. This will make machines
easily accessible, and make early morning and evening trips back home
more convenient; however, be mindful of noise control when building your
structure near your home and make sure the loud sounds from machinery
will not disturb your household. Easy accessibility to the farm shop
will also make equipment repairs easier. Also, consider the safety of
your machinery. Correct placement and construction of your storage
building can help reduce the chances of theft or outside tampering with
your machinery. Structures that are within the sightline of you home
will allow you to keep an eye on your building, and the proximity has
also shown to discourage thieves. Also look into the types of locks you
can place on your building’s windows and doors. Choose sturdy,
tamper-proof locks for all entrances and exits into the building.
Planning for equipment storage may be more intensive than it
sounds at first, not only must you consider the space needed to store
the actual equipment but you must also consider the additional space and
entrances needed to maneuver equipment once it is inside. One of the
best rules of thumb is to calculate the floor space needed to store
equipment (accounting for fold out parts when appropriate) and multiply
this number by 1.5. When considering the height of your building you
should start with a 14-foot minimum and add-on for any additional space
needed based upon the height of your equipment and desired storage
space. When dictating door height allow all machines to clear your door
by at least 2 feet, and provide 1 foot of clearance on each side. Also
be sure to account for space needed to maneuver once equipment once
inside. Provide aisles for equipment to be moved in and out of the
shelter without disturbing other machines.
Agricultural Buildings for Livestock
When raising livestock it’s important to provide your animals with the
proper shelter and sleeping arrangements. However, it’s also important
not to confine your animals in a tight space. When building a barn to
house livestock be sure to account for the appropriate dimensions to
prevent the spread of disease and undesirable behavior.
The most important factor to consider when building a
barn for your animals is ventilation. Ventilation is necessary to
provide animals with proper breathing air as well maintaining a
desirable temperature. When considering temperature control opt for
heating and cooling systems instead of simply incorporating windows as
direct drafts can cause sickness in farm animals. The placement of
ventilation systems is also important, in a heated and insulted barn
ventilation ducts must be placed on the ceiling to prevent the build-up
of ice on the roof of the building.
When planning your animal shelter’s layout, or the layout of
your horse barn, it is critical that you allow enough room for all your
animals. Cramped quarters increase sickness among the animals, and also
encourage aggressive behavior. The amount of room needed inside your
barn will depend upon the animals you plan to house, design of interior
structures and any desired amenities pertaining to your livestock. If
housing horses a single box stall can require anywhere from 9′ by 9′ for
a pony, to 15′ by 15′ for a stallion. Pigs can require anywhere from 3
square feet to 8 square feet of room depending upon their weight. Do
your research, find out how much space you need to make your animals
comfortable while also accounting for the addition of new animals in
future. When planning for livestock it is better to have too much room
than not enough so don’t be hesitant to round measurements up.
Steel Storage Buildings for Hay
Hay is one of the most fundamental necessities on any farm; it’s
essential to most farms’ livelihood. The way in which hay is stored has
a direct impact on the amount of dry matter losses. While it’s
inevitable that there will be some loss in hay, the proper storage
system can greatly reduce the amount of hay lost each year.
The rate of deterioration in hay depends upon the amount
of moisture that gets into the hay barrels. Warm, moist conditions cause
mold to grow amongst the hay and eat away at the nutrients in the grain.
Keeping hay as dry as possible is the key to increasing its longevity,
but as proper storage space must also follow all safety guidelines are
extremely dry hay is a much greater fire hazard. Consider the type of
floor your building will have and how it will protect your hay. If
possible, farm experts recommend elevating the structure and surrounding
your building with downward sloping land with a downgrade of at least 5
percent. A floor made only of gravel will also retain moisture. Some
farmers opt for concrete floors, however, these can be expensive and
still don’t allow water to properly drain. One of the best options is to
layer a sheet of filter fabric over compact gravel. This filter layer
will allow water to completely drain away from hay, but keeps gravel in
place and sturdy.
PLANNING Your Agricultural Building
When planning floor area for your hay storage unit, consider
how hay will be stored; will it be stored in round or rectangular bales?
While rectangular bales may be easier to stack they also allow more
moisture to seep into the bundle. Consider storing hay in round bales,
stood up on their flat end for maximum ease of stacking. Also, consider
the amount of space needed for loading equipment to bring hay in and out
of the structure.