Thursday, February 23, 2012

Farmstead Arrangement

If you are thinking about adding a structure to a current farmstead or planning a new farmstead, there are several things to consider and certain factors to place in an arrangement.

Farmstead Map

1. Review present situation for existing problems
2. Assess near-term needs
3. Provide for long-term goals and future expansion
4. Give thought to personal objectives:  
    - Improved performance or production
    - Greater capacity
    - Expansion of facilities
    - Better use of time

There are also a few rules of thumb to follow when planning a farmstead. Those include but are not limited to:

- Don’t build in a hole—drainage off the site is critical
- Don’t create bottle-necks
 - A structure in the wrong place is a 20, 30 or more year problem
 - Mistakes can be corrected on paper much easier than on the ground after concrete is poured.
 - Is a new structure financially feasible
 - Don’t let “we’ve always done it this way” rule your thinking
 - There’s always more than one way to develop a farmstead

Planning factors

Remember vehicle turning radius can affect spacing between buildings and the amount of space allowed in the middle of the farmstead. A semi with a cattle pot or grain trailer generally has a 55’ to 65’ turning radius. A twin-screw with a sleeper cab might be more than that. A one ton dually can have a radius of as much as 52’. Add a fifth wheel trailer and it could be more.

Wind direction can direct noise, odor, dust and snowdrifts toward the house, so pay attention to prevailing winds. In southwest Missouri, summer winds are mostly from the south. Some are from the southwest and southeast. Winter winds are primarily from the direct north and slightly northeast. If you consider all wind for 365 days for the five-year period of 2006 to 2010, the combined average is roughly 15° southeast of south (data from the University of Missouri Commercial Ag weather station located at Lamar).

Where will you store chemicals and locate secondary containment of pesticides, fertilizers and fuel?
Is the view from the house acceptable to other members of the family?

Is the view from the road acceptable to family members as viewed by passersby? In other words can people driving by see into your machine shed? Can they tell whether or not you’re home or away?  Can vandals see into buildings without pulling into your farmstead?

What about security? Can vandals get in and out of the farmstead without having to drive past the house?

When planning a farmstead, there are four zones recommended. The first zone is within the first 100’ of the house. That’s the area for family activities. The next 100’ is zone two and would be considered an area for machinery storage and probably a shop. Zone three is the next 100’ and would be for grain storage and small livestock structures such as a flock of laying hens, maybe a pen of goats, pigs or calves. The fourth zone would be for large livestock facilities such as confined poultry or hogs.

For a sizeable operation, you’re probably looking at utilizing four or five acres of land for a farmstead. If you have multiple enterprises, or farm several thousand acres, the land area necessary for the farmstead could be much larger.

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