Exploring New Home Construction

Design And Location Tips New Farmers Can Use To Maximize Barn Efficiency

Starting a small farm on a raw, unspoiled piece of land can be an excellent way to ensure that all the farm's structures, livestock and planting areas are situated precisely where you want them. Once you have your plan laid out, building a barn to shelter livestock, hay and farm equipment is usually the first priority, but the construction of a traditional barn can be an expensive, time-consuming task. To expedite the process of providing shelter and minimize the cost of traditional construction, many farmers choose to erect one or more pre-engineered metal buildings instead of wood-framed barn.

Customizing Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings to Specific Farm Needs

Although pre-engineered metal buildings are available in many sizes and shapes, customizing them to your specific need will ensure that they remain useful over the life of the farm. Before ordering, you will need to know:

  • the size, type and number of farm vehicles, implements and machines you will want to shelter or work on inside the building
  • what type of improvements you will want to incorporate into the design, such as water, electricity or heat
  • special storage requirements, such as a loft for hay, workshop, tool storage, a feed room, seed storage area and supply storage
  • space for an office or living quarters for hired help
  • any windows, skylights, vents, doors or decorative features
  • whether or not you wish to insulate the building and if so, what type of insulation you will use

In many cases, including a roofed lean-to area on one of both sides of the pre-engineered steel building can provide an economical way to store large farm machinery or hay bales, without taking up interior space.

Determining the Space Needed for Animals

While the information above will help you decide on the best possible design for your building, it is important to understand the specific amount of space required for each type of livestock and ensure that there is sufficient additional space to promote good ventilation and avoid overcrowding.

Since each type of livestock will have different space requirements, using the following guide will help you compute how much space in the finished structure will be needed for each.

  • Adult, full-size horses, mules, donkeys and burros – 45-100 square feet per animal
  • Adult, full-size cows and bulls (both beef and dairy breeds) – 75-100 square feet
  • Adult sows and boar hogs – 48-100 square feet
  • Adult goats and sheep – 20-25 square feet
  • Chickens, for both egg and meat production – 3-4 square feet
  • Turkeys – 6 square feet

When looking at these figures, remember that they are only basic guidelines and will need to be adjusted upward for extremely large animals or for special situations, such as when animals are raising young. If your farming plan involves utilizing miniature livestock breeds, you may need less space per animal and be able to erect a smaller structure.

Locating Your Structure for Efficiency

Once you have a good idea of the structure's design and size, it is important to pay special attention to how the finished structure will be situated on your land. At the very least, it will need to be erected in a convenient location that offers excellent drainage to ensure that rain water or melting snow will be directed away from the site.

In addition, the areas of the structure where each type of livestock will be sheltered should open up to an outdoor pen or a fenced lane. This will allow the animals to access pasture during good weather, or direct them safely to any outdoor feed, hay or watering systems you plan to install.

Pre-engineered metal buildings can provide a quick, efficient and affordable alternative to traditional barns and sheds, especially when starting a small farming operation. Before ordering, however, remember to take a moment to go over your farming goals and plans with your pre-engineered metal building representative. They can help you make any modifications necessary, so that your finished structure will fit your needs for years to come. Contact a company like Commercial Industries Company Inc. to get started.