“When it comes to building a free-stall barn, there are some important ‘must-haves’ that you should never take away from a cow“, says Mike Ryan of Eagle Direct. “Cows need good quality air, a dry comfortable resting place, good access to feed and water, and confident footing.”
Unfortunately, when push comes to shove during construction, sacrifices often get made to save a few dollars that can have a long term impact on the cow and ultimately your farm’s profitability. So before you get started, here’s our 5 tips for building a barn that will serve your farm well into the future:
- Master Planner > Involving a master planner from the outset. A master planner will help you plan your barn in view of your entire operation and where you are heading into the future. Think long term – where you’d like to be in 25 years, not in 12 months.
- Staged Approach > Consider how you can stage the build and consider other aspects early on such as: feeding systems, animal comfort, effluent treatment and ofcourse managing animal health by design.
- Stay Animal Focussed > Your barn must put the animal first. Anything else eg. price could cost you production for years to come.
- Ask “Why” > Your farm is unique – there is no other farm like it so continue to ask “why” throughout the design process. Building a barn is a large financial investment and if there is any aspect you doubt will benefit your operation, ask why do you need it.
- Talk to other Farmers > Barns are becoming increasingly common in the dairy industry due to the productivity gains they are achieving. Farmers who have already built barns are generally happy to share their experiences. It can be incredibly eye opening to see how a well planned barn is working in real life and learning first hand the many pitfalls that can be made and avoided.
CALL EAGLE DIRECT TODAY if you want to talk about any of these in more detail. Whether you’re currently in design phase, about to start or just beginning to think it through, we’d be happy to talk with you about your farm setup or schedule a farm visit to start the process.