Maintaining a well-kept barn is important for many reasons. Especially when it comes to keeping animals comfortable and healthy, ensuring your machinery and tools are in working order, and maintaining an efficient and profitable farm. It’s important to establish a regular upkeep routine to make sure all assets of your barn are in good condition year-round. Like in any type of building, unwanted problems can arise if your barn is not properly taken care of.
Here are some simple barn maintenance tips to follow at least once a year to ensure your barn is in top shape.
Keep your barn well-ventilated
An appropriately ventilated barn creates a pleasant, healthy environment. Fresh air causes fewer pollutants that produce mold, mildew, wood rot and excess ammonia. A poorly ventilated barn can become damp, dusty, and contaminated, which can lead to respiratory problems in both livestock and staff, and even increased rust damage to equipment. In the summer months, the inside of barns can also become extremely hot, causing harm and additional health issues.
Barn ventilation is achieved by providing enough openings, allowing fresh air to enter and stale air to exit. Free stall barns have an open wall with a large curtain that can be raised in the summer and lowered during the winter. It’s beneficial to keep a cool breeze flowing to keep animals comfortable and healthy. Installing ceiling fans and exhaust fans, and leaving barn walls open during the day, even in the colder months, also will help with air flow.
Check the roof, windows, and doors
Just like in our homes, leaks, cracks or tears in the barn roof, windows and doors can cause a number of issues, including poor temperature control, water damage, structural rot and even personal property loss. It’s recommended to check your roof for any issues at least twice a year—in the fall and spring when it is free from snow. The exact month can vary year to year, especially in Wisconsin when snow is unpredictable. Go the extra mile and add in any barn windows and doors to your seasonal inspections as well. If you notice any issues, such as heavy snow loads or cracked support beams, be sure to get them repaired immediately before they cause further damage—which can lead to extra expenses. Proactively protecting your barn from snow loads in the winter can protect your livestock and equipment from serious damage.
Ensure emergency appliances are intact
At least once a year, check to make sure fire extinguishers are charged and up to date. If not, replace fire extinguishers in case of an emergency. This is especially important in machine shops where repairs are made or in equipment storage buildings that house tractors, skid steers, and other heavy-duty machinery.
Maintain good housekeeping practices
A clean barn is a happy barn! Just like in our homes, keeping things tidy in farm buildings is key, especially when it comes to safety and comfort. Quickly clean up any oil and liquid spills, dust, and other debris to prevent accidental slips, trips or sparks. Supporting a safe working environment requires taking the necessary steps to avert dangerous issues. Here are 8 simple ways to keep your farm buildings safe.
Proper barn maintenance can take plenty of work, but in the end, it’s worth the effort. Keeping up with a regular schedule can make your life a lot easier and lower your risk for accidents or loss on the farm.
Contact your Rural Mutual agent to determine the best coverage for your farm and to learn more about our farm safety initiatives.
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