Section 5. Structures and Utilities
|Site:||Extension Foundation Online Campus|
|Book:||Section 5. Structures and Utilities|
|Printed by:||Guest user|
|Date:||Wednesday, March 29, 2023, 3:37 PM|
Building Inspection and Maintenance
Building security includes maintenance. If a barn or shed is not kept in good condition, it can become a hazard. The same is true for your utilities. In section 5, you will learn about the benefits of routine maintenance checks of your structures and utilities help ensure safe and secure conditions.
Regularly inspect all your facilities for structural problems
such as loose siding, loose roofing and broken glass. Repair as needed. Without regular maintenance, the contents of your buildings and other structures cannot be properly secured and could be damaged by the weather.
Snow Load Capacity of Structures
|Knowing the snow load capacity of your barns and other buildings
helps ensure the safety of your family, your employees, and your livestock. Snow load is the load, in pounds per square foot, placed on the exterior of a structure by snow accumulation. The snow load capacity for each structure must be determined on a case-by-case basis and is determined by the building materials used and the style of construction, as well as roof surface area.
Snow is crystallized frozen water and water is heavy. Water weighs about 62 pounds per cubic foot, so one inch of water weighs a little more than five pounds per square foot.
That same inch of water is equivalent to about 10 inches of dry, cold snow. This means each inch of dry, cold snow weighs about a half a pound per square foot. And the type of snow makes a difference:
Imagine the pressure this creates sitting on a roof. Agricultural buildings should be built to carry from 24 to 34 pounds of snow per square foot depending on location.
Check your insurance policy to determine if snow load is covered. Sometimes structural failure due to snow is not covered on agricultural buildings without a purchased rider.
Wind Loads of Structures
|In some areas, wind load is an important consideration when designing
and building a barn or other structure. Wind load is the load, in pounds per square foot, placed on the exterior of a structure by wind. This will depend on:
Water Sources and Evaluations
| Do you have enough water to maintain your farm operations and for emergency situations? In addition to your normal water source, you should identify one or more alternate sources, especially for your animals. Remember, if the electricity is out, you may not be able to pump water from a well for livestock.
Thoroughly investigate the location, quantity and quality of water that is available. Generally, a well yield or stream flow of 6 to 15 gallons per minute will be required for each irrigated acre, depending on the crop and the soil at your location. If you use irrigation for frost protection, you will need a flow rate of 45 to 65 gallons per minute per acre. When using a farm pond as your water source, 1 to 1.5 acre feet of water should be stored for each acre to be irrigated.
Consult your state department of natural resources for information about surface and ground water supplies available for public and private use. The department may be able to provide you with an estimate of the size, geologic makeup and yield of aquifers in your area. Also consider consulting a hydrogeologist or local well driller. They are often listed in the telephone directory or Yellow Pages. The natural resources department may be able to provide a list of hydrologists and well drillers who provide services in your area.
Water quality testing is essential, especially for livestock operations and intensive systems such as greenhouses. Testing is available from private laboratories. Local health departments may also provide some services. In some cases, water treatment may be needed.
When you evaluate your water supply, be sure that it is adequate, of suitable quality, and plentiful enough to meet your needs. The supply should also be economically accessible and legally available. In some cases, a permit may be required to use a water source or withdraw over a specified amount.
Securing Your Water Source
Keep all electrical wiring up to code, and be sure all electrical
Be sure to keep electrical boxes secured from unauthorized access.
|Extended power outages can disrupt essential farm operations.
Even brief outages can be costly for a farm business, especially those with livestock operations such as dairy, poultry or other confined animals. It is important to select an appropriately sized generator or an alternative source of electrical power, such as batteries, based on the needs of your operation.
When selecting a generator, don’t focus only on the price per kilowatt of generator capacity. Determine the size needed to power only essential electric loads. Add up these loads to determine the kilowatt capacity needed. Also keep in mind that electric motors draw three to five times more power at starting than when running under full load. The type of generator (manual, semiautomatic or automatic) will also influence the correct load rating and the cost. A manual unit allows selection of the equipment to be connected during the emergency, but requires personnel to start and connect the generator and to change equipment connections to the electrical system to stay within generator capacity.
Notify your local electric utility company if you plan to use a standby generator in case of power failure.
Electricity Disruptions Continued
|There are several types of generators:
Whether it's a direct-connected engine-driven unit or one driven by a tractor power take-off (PTO), be sure a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch is properly installed by a licensed electrician if the generator is to be connected directly to the farm wiring. This switch disconnects the commercial electricity supplier power source (the electric power company lines) from the farm electrical wiring and prevents electricity made by the generator from flowing onto utility lines where it could electrocute members of the repair crew. The switch must have the capacity to carry the total load of the farm or building it feeds, even though the generator has less capacity. When the switch is in its second position, the generator is separately connected to only the farm’s (or building) electrical wiring. Extension cords typically connect individual equipment (freezers, portable lights) to small generators.