Proper Management, Maintenance and Repairs of Farm Buildings and Structures

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Photo: Farm barn near wood logs

Farm buildings and structures are built on the farm site for the smooth running of farm operations. The types of buildings or structures vary, depending on the conditions on the farm.  They may be temporary or permanent.  They may be built of wood using logs or poles or of various grades of cement mixtures from concrete or ceramic tiles or stone. Grass, straw and palm fronds are other materials used on the farm for building or putting up structures.

Farm buildings and structures management and maintenance are important in farming business. For the safety of the animals, labourers, and food. Success of farming business largely depends on the structures. Durability  and functionality of farm buildings and structures are impacted by the ways they are been managed.

Farm building and structures dilapidation is usually caused by aging, weather or usage. Since this is inevitable, it is often necessary to replace certain parts of farm buildings and structures which have rotted away, dilapidated or been broken. Such parts should be given immediate and proper attention. 

Management Practices

  • Management of farm buildings starts from planning and construction of the farm buildings, therefore, principles of farm design should be adhered to.
  • Ensure that the buildings and structures are suitable for the purposes they are built, and are used for those purposes. 
  • Do not stuck the building and structures beyond their carrying capacities. 
  • The layouts of the structures and fittings should be properly structured to  make for easy cleaning and maintenance. 
  • Wastes should be properly handled by evacuating them from the buildings and structures. 
  • Carry out repairs of broken or dilapidated structures.

Maintenance Measures

1. Rodent-proofing Buildings: In some areas rodents are a serous pest on farms. In such areas precautionary measures should be taken to keep rats out of the buildings. Setting traps and putting down rat poison is advised in buildings where livestock and loose produce are not being kept.

2. Paint and Preservatives: Using paint and preservatives on parts of the buildings and structures will help protect the wood and keep the buildings and structures looking attractive. A farmer should take pride in keeping his farm buildings and structures looking good. Painting the woods which may otherwise deteriorate rapidly is an effective way of keeping the farm looking smart. It’s important for a farmer to have a knowledge when selecting paints of good quality and applying them properly. Or the farmer can deploy the services of experts.

Any wood such as flooring, posts or runners which come in contact with the soil should be properly preserved. Preservative materials may be applied to posts or runners with a paintbrush or they may be dipped in a tank containing a preservative solution. Boards used in floors, such as feeders, which may be in close contact with the soil should be painted with a preservative. 

3. Cleaning Steel Materials: Stainless Steel materials like cow stalls should be properly taken care of to avoid rust and corrosion. Avoid frequent contact with moisture or dust, and each time the steels get in contact with moisture or dust, ensure to wipe them off with dry towel. From time to time, stainless steel materials on the farm can be cleaned with Stainless cleaner to remove stains and scratches. Use dry towel to gently wife the surfaces of the steels to dry up the liquid substance on the steel. In the absence of stainless cleaner, use mild detergent mixed with water. Never use harsh chemicals like metallic scourers, abrasive powder.

Repair Measures

1. Bracing: Farm buildings and structures that sag or get out of plumb may be repaired by the installation of additional braces. The first step to take is to straighten the building with jacks until the walls appear plumb. Then install additional braces as needed.

2. Replacing Foundations: Farm buildings and structures repairs are frequently necessitated by foundation failures. A frequent foundation failure is the tilting out foundations. When this happens, the wall should be jacked up with pillars. The foundations should then be straightened and reinforced by pouring an additional concrete footing which will lower the foundation wall back into place. 

Another frequent foundation failure is the splitting of the foundations at the corner of the buildings. When this occurs, jack the foundations back into place and pour a shaft of concrete to hold the corner in place. 

Occasionally, failures may result from the erosion of the earth from beneath the foundations.  This causes the foundations to subside. When this occurs, jack the foundations and wall back into place and shore up with wood to ensure that it doesn’t slip back. Then pour a concrete footing underneath the foundation. Replace the earth that has been eroded and take steps to prevent future erosion. 

3. Replacing Roofs: Leaking roofs should be patched with adhesives. But if the damage is severe, the affected parts or the entire roof should be replaced. Roofs replacement should be carried out during the dry season before the rain sets in so as not to expose the animals, feeds, produce, machineries, staff to adverse effect of the rain. 

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