Principles of Designing a Farm

Alt: = "photo showing farm layouts

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Definition of terms
  • Principles of designing a farm


Definition of term

Farm: Farm is a piece of land with necessary facilities for raising farm animals and crops for economic benefits like food, raw materials, income etc.

Farm Design: It is the visual drawing of a farm layouts. It is how a planned farm will look like when constructed. Farm structuring affects the operations on the farm.

Farm layout: Farm layout refers to the physical structures and settings of the buildings, drainage and irrigation, water supply, waste site, plantation layouts, contours, roads etc on a farm.

Farmhouse: Farmhouse is a live in quarters for the farmer, his family and his workers.

Farm Designing Principles

1. Choosing farming system

The first principle in designing a farm is choosing a farming system. The farming practice to be adopted on the farm determines the type of farm buildings, structures and layouts. 

There are three farming systems — shifting cultivation, mixed farming and livestock/ pastoral farming.

Shifting cultivation is a farming system where a piece of farmland is cultivated for one or two seasons and is left to lie fallow for some years before being cultivated again.

Mixed farming system is a system whereby both crops and animals are on the same farm. In a mixed farming system, a farmer may keep cows for milk, chickens for eggs, goats, sheep for their meat and wool, and the farmer may also grow maize and other crops. Such integration reduces costs of feed, fertilizer and waste management because crops produce and their waste can be used to feed the livestock, while livestock waste is used as manure to improve soil fertility. Mixed farming system is the most recommended farming system as it helps the farmer to maximize farmland space and profits.  It reduces the risk of economic losses as both animals and crops are unlikely to fail all at the same time. 

Livestock farming system is a whereby only animals are raised on the  farm.

Undoubtedly, the farm size, layouts and structures can’t be same for these three different farming systems. For instant, designs and structural layouts on dairy production farm will be different form that of poultry farm or crops farm. The design of cereal and vegetable crops farm will be different from tree crops plantation.

The choice of farming system will determine whether there will be need for  irrigation system, the kind of waste management structure.

2. Capital

Capital is the backbone of any business. So in designing a farm, available finance to foot the costs of the structures on the farm must be put into consideration.

Principles of designing farm layouts

3. Topography and type of soil

The topography of the area is very important. A well level sandy-loamy soil is most preferred for durability of the farm houses. Low land prone to water log and flood, or sloppy land should be avoided. Understanding the topography of the farmland will be  a premise to decide on the kind of drainage system best suitable for the farm, if there will be one. It also helps in determining irrigation system to be adopted.

Foundation soil should not be too dehydrated or desiccated. Such soil is susceptible to considerable swelling during rainy season and exhibit numerous cracks and fissures. Soil test should be carried out to determine the soil nutrients composition, soil pH to know the kind of plants that can do well on the farm and the structures and layouts suitable for such land.

4. Expansion plan

If there is plan to expand the farm in the near future, the design should make room for expansion either by creating empty spaces in the layouts or by designing farm structures that have higher carrying capacity than the activities the will take place on the farm in the immediate.

5. Farm size and features

Access land is one of the major cost of production in farming. It is difficult to get a vast expanse of farmland, owing to urbanization and real estate costs. Therefore, wastage of space should be avoided at all costs. The layouts for equipment, buildings and structures should be done in a way that effectively utilizes the limited farm space. 

The features of the farm should be considered and decided on before designing a farm. Is the farm going to be  a live in farm? If yes, the design will include farmhouse for the staff.

6. Wind and sunshine directions

The wind location should be considered in sitting farm structures and layouts. To avoid offensive odors from the farm to inconvenience people in the farmhouse and office block buildings, and the neighborhood, the livestock farm structures should be sited towards the south because the wind blows from north towards south. And if there will be open sided, single slop roof structure on the farm, open side of the structure should face the south for winter and block prevailing winds that come from north. Longs axis of gable roof farm house should be located towards east-west direction in the farm. This minimizes the amount of direct sunlight entering through the sidewalls of the farm houses. 

How to Locate East, West, North, South Directions

 Use any of the following two methods to locate the sides on the earth surface.

The Sun rises from the east and sets in the west. So when you face the Sun in the morning, your front is east, your back is west, while your right hand side is south and your left hand side is north. 

Another method is take a magnet that its polar axis is labeled north and south. Dangle it and allow it to rest. The north and south axis will face north and south accordingly.

alt: = "farm building design photo"
Sample of Farm Buildings Designs

Read also: Factors to Consider for Proper Farm Buildings and Structures

7. Equipment and machineries

It is very necessary to assess the amount of equipment and machineries that will be deployed on the farm, and then design a farm that can accommodate them and make for easy movement of such machineries whether stationary or mobile.

8. Visibility and accessibility

The layouts should be designed in such a manner that allows for easy movement, supervision, coordination and control. The storage points should be separated from other structures so that they can be visible at all times, to reduce the incidence of pilferage, theft, etc. 

9. Waste Management system

A lot of waste is generated on a farm. These wastes are hazardous especially the animal wastes. How to manage these wastes must be put in to consideration when designing a farm layouts. The wastes from crops can be used as feed for livestock. They can also be burned but the carbon dioxide emissions from the smoke will affect ecosystem. The wastes from chicken and livestock can be used as manure or be used to generate biogas but provision has to be made for structures or  space to collect and process it, and provision for processing into manure or biogas should be made in  farm design. 

10. Compliance with statutory laws and regulations

The farm design must comply with regulations on environment, building construction, safety and agriculture.

Conditions Necessary for Construction of Farm

It should be strong enough to last long time 

Large enough for the quantity of animals to be housed comfortably 

Be well drained and easy to clean 

Be well lighted and ventilated

Ensure that temperature, relative air humidity and gas concentration are at levels that will not harm the animals. 

Should have isolation pens for sick, injured or new animals, and they should be far from the main house.

The Layouts should provide for roads for easy movement of men and materials

There should be storage facility

The main farm should be separated from security and administrative buildings to limit the visitors access to the farm.

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