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What are the Different Types of Farm Buildings?

By KD Morgan
Updated May 17, 2024
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The type of farm you run will dictate your farm buildings. Different types of farms require specific buildings and outbuildings to run an efficient operation. Most farms have a main barn and several outbuildings. They also have a farmhouse for the owners and some form of bunkhouse for caretaker or farmhand housing. The main barn and farmhouse are usually stick buildings. The outbuildings can be either metal or stick.

For farms that raise animals and livestock, the main barn houses the animals. For horses, there will be rows of stalls, a grooming area, a tack room and perhaps a stall shower. For cattle, goats, llamas and sheep, the main barn will be a place of refuge for them to get out of the weather. Major projects such as milking, birthing and sheering may be performed there as well. Within the main barn is usually a storage room that holds supply items pertinent to your line of business. Confinement buildings or livestock pens are mainly used for pigs and poultry.

Outbuildings for most animal farms will include a hay barn. It is important to have a separate building to house your hay as it has the potential to spontaneously combust and you do not want it near your livestock. Within the hay barn, you should have a grain room or area for supplemental feeding.

It is important to have a large equipment building to store machinery, tools and house farm vehicles such as tractors and their attachments. These could include blades, harrows, hole diggers, mowers and tillers. Rider mowers, weed-eaters and smaller pieces of equipment should also have a place to be stored during harsh weather. In cold climate regions, batteries need to be removed and equipment needs to be winterized and stored in a protected environment. Tractors that are used during these winter months need access to plug-in heaters.

A fuel storage shed is also recommended as one of your farm buildings to house any combustibles. Other farm buildings include feedlots that are often enclosed or covered for protection from sun and weather. Many older farms include a well house. Horse farms often have an indoor arena for training and working with horses or during times when it is inappropriate to ride outside. Three-sided run in shelters are often positioned in pastures for protection from sun and weather.

For crop farming, an equipment, machinery and vehicle storage building are still necessary. For these operations, one of the most important farm buildings is a grain storage silo to house your harvest, such as corn, oats, soybeans or wheat. If you have a silo on site for crop storage, you can hold your crop until the market can offer the best price. It also allows for a faster harvest, as you do not have to stop and drive your product to a public granary.

For vineyard farming, a place to process the grapes is needed. Then, of course a wine cellar is mandatory. Fruit farms will also need an area suitable for storage.

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Discussion Comments

By golf07 — On May 12, 2011

@myharley - I always notice old farm buildings when driving along the highways. You don't see as many of the old, wooden building and barns as you used to. Many of the modern building are put together as metal building kits.

There is nothing quite like an old, sturdy barn though. We had a big barn with stalls for our horses and that was one of my favorite places to hang out. They can be functional and provide you with many memories also.

By myharley — On May 10, 2011

Oh, the memories I have of a hay barn. You don't seem to see many of them along side the road anymore. They seem to have been replaced by morton buildings and more modern looking structures.

I did not live on a farm, but we had an old hay barn on our property that we loved to climb in and play. It was not very functional for our property, but sure provided a lot of fun memories.

Most farm buildings are very crucial for the overall farm operation and provide safety and protection for livestock and machinery.

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