One simple way to protect farm equipment: machine sheds
For any size farming operation, machinery can be a large and important investment. Building a machinery storage shed is one simple way that farmers can keep their operations running smoothly, decrease down time and lower repair costs.
Storing farm equipment indoors means better resale value, lower repair cost
Research done by the University of Georgia showed that farmers who stored equipment inside got much more for resale after five years than those who left it outside. Keeping equipment inside also means more savings from reduced down time. In fact, equipment stored outside had twice the down time than if it had been stored indoors.
Planning a multi-purpose building
Why settle for a single use building when you probably have a number of roles you would like it to play? Post frame designs offer flexibility with clear span interiors and unlimited length. Designs can include a cold storage area, insulated workshop, office, bathroom and more. Consider the following elements when planning your building:
Posts—the base of strength for any post frame building
Farmers now have two options to choose from in the Canadian market: traditional wood or new concrete posts. When researching traditional wood posts, make sure they can stand up to the elements. Laminated posts should be made from #2 spruce or better wood, pressed together with plates, glued and nailed with 4” nails.
Perma-Column posts are a new option available for Canadian farmers. Exclusive to Integrity in Canada, Perma-Columns are 5’ precast concrete and come with a lifetime guarantee. They have three times the strength of standard concrete with a compressive strength of 10,000 PSI. The concrete columns keep wood out of the ground and are the first product to combine the economy of post frame construction with the durability of a concrete foundation.
Doors: type and placement
Think carefully about what type of doors you need and how best to place them throughout your building to ensure the best workflow.
Stan Siewart, a large grain operator from Blackie, Alberta, has a machine shed to store his house large farm equipment like air seeders. Siewart’s drive-through design includes two large bi-fold doors on each end wall that allow him to move machinery with ease. “I can drive my equipment right through the building thanks to the bi-fold doors on each end. I don’t have to worry about backing up,” says Siewart.
When designing your building, think of how you will be using the doors, different types of doors you will need, and the most logical flow of traffic to help direct where you would place the doors. We recommend placing large doors in the end walls of your post frame building for structural integrity and so snow doesn’t fall directly in front of them—making it easier for you to enter and exit your building during the winter.
Consider whether your building will be insulated now or in the future. Sliding doors are a popular and economical option for machine sheds designed for cold storage. If you have larger equipment or will be insulating, consider overhead or bi-fold doors for high clearance.
The increasing size of today’s farm equipment requires increasingly larger door openings. Avoid unpleasant surprises by taking measurements of your equipment and carefully verify your needs.
Use natural lighting where possible
On an uninsulated building, reduce your energy costs with a clear ridge light that allows natural sunlight in for the length of your building. The smoke wall light is another great option, which cuts down on glare.
Select the best location
Analyze the topography of the site where you are preparing to build. Is the land is rolling, level or sloped? Which direction does the wind come into your yard? Make sure to plan enough room for yards, driveways, walkways and thoroughfares to other buildings.
Choose a location that will allow proper water drainage from all four corners of your building. We can help you by transiting your site. A transit level is used to locate level building lines. Remember to consider the finished building height (think trees) as well when choosing your building site.
Don Metzger of Donjo Farms has a 60’ x 120’ x 20’ cold storage farm equipment shed built with Perma-Column concrete posts. It is used to protect farm machinery from the weather and ensure that valuable equipment lasts longer and retains its value. The building has two 45’ x 20’ bi-fold doors in the end walls and two walk-in doors. A ridge light runs the length of the building.
Metzger gives advice for prospective buyers. “Think about the size of equipment that you currently use and could possibly use in the future. Go visit other similar operations with new shops and sheds to get ideas. Take your time and be sure to build something exactly what you want. The sales staff at Integrity Post greatly assisted us in the planning.”