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Farm layout - Is this ridiculous? (long!)

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  • Farm layout - Is this ridiculous? (long!)

    I'd like to get some input from those of you who may have learned the hard way how NOT to design a farm I've seen the designs of quite a few farms and can pick out what I like and don't like, but who knew it would be so hard to start from scratch!

    Ok just for reference purposes (so you'll know what the heck I'm talking about!) here is a map of the area in question.


    Some background info:
    Planning to build a house on parcel #1. The actual lot is probably 1 acre and the house will be in the upper left hand corner of the lot where the old existing structure is pictured.

    Parcel #2: Approx. 3 acres of high flat land. Everything to the left of that is very low - not suitable for building or pastureland.

    Parcel #3, 4, and 5: Approx. 2.5, 6, and 7 acres respectively. All well drained, flat land suitable for building or pasture land.

    The blue dotted line indicates property lines of tracts of land we control. The road dividing parcels 1&2 from 3&4 is a very narrow, rarely traveled 2 lane road. This area is NOT heavily populated and we're a minimum of 2 miles from any major highway at this point - avoiding traffic (of any sort) on this road is of very little concern.


    My question to you: Assuming you'll have 3-4 horses max to deal with, where would you build your barn while maximizing your pasture space and minimizing work load?? Keep in mind that all of this land is actively farmed and any unused land will still be kept in production (i.e. don't make it a nightmare for those tending the land!)

    All suggestions appreciated!!!
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

  • #2
    Two questions:

    1. How busy is that road? Never mind - I reread for comprehension - rarely traveled. That helps.

    2. The prevailing wind blows from what direction?
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world." ~ Jack Layton

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Winds are generally from the southwest for most of the year. And yes, very little traffic. I could probably nap on the yellow line and not lose my life.
      "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

      Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd put the barn on #2 or #3, as close to the house as feasible with doorways & stalls opening to the Northwest - away from prevailing winds.

        If you put the barn on #2 you still have room for a good-sized pasture connected to it, depending on how large a barn you're planning. What is the land to the left of 2 used for now?

        If you are attaching an indoor/outdoor to your barn then #3 may be the better option.
        From my limited experience (just built my own farm 5 years ago) the closer you can get pasture to barn the easier your life becomes.

        If I had it to do over I'd put pasture in front of barn facing the house.
        You have to travel a bit farther to get to the barn but your view from the house is better: horses in pasture!

        On second view of your map - since the road separates #3 from the house I'd pick #2 for the barn. Let 3,4 & 5 remain in crops. Maybe grow your own hay?

        Most important is drainage - if #2 is lower than the house or #3 you may have problems. Have you seen the place after a heavy rain?
        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree about locating the barn on 2, with run-outs between the barn and the house, and larger pasture behind the barn. All gates along the dividing line between 1 and 2 (for security reasons).

          Do you plan on having an outdoor and/or indoor arena? Will you be storing hay? Will it be in the same barn as the horses?

          Even though the land to the west of 2 is low, can it be built up for an arena? If so, then positioning your barn and doors towards that area should be considered.

          Do you have breeding operation or riding horses? Area #5 would be a nice pasture - even though the trees are to the east and it's a ways from the house - but if you didn't need frequent access to some of the horses, that might be the least disruptive to the farming operation as I see in the mow/grow patterns of 3 and 4. If you were to use #5 as pasture, then placing the barn in #3 would be a good deal. BUT... then you have issue with electric; whereas using #2 MIGHT be easier for elec & water.

          Another question - even though the "low" areas aren't good for pasture - are they okay for a few months 2 times a year? If so, they could be part of your rotational system.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks for the responses!

            2dogs- To the left of #2 is in crop production (all of it is!) but is very low land. Doesn't drain well even with extensive ditching in the area. I wouldn't be able to use it for anything unless we were in a drought ha!

            #2 and #3 are both high ground and do drain well... #3 possibly drains every so slightly better than #2 but there's not much difference.



            gabz- I have two options for hay storage. One being in the barn (just in an empty stall - no loft) and the other being in an old barn on an adjacent piece of property. My hopes are to leave myself enough pasture room that I end up feeding very little hay. *fingers crossed!* I plan to have an outdoor somewhere on the farm also... but I'd rather give pastures the top priority for location. I have riding horses only... no breeding.

            Good point about power/water. This would be no problem for #2 but we'd have to run both out to all of the other pastures which might be a bit of a headache. It'd be nice to have at least one of those for pastures though so I might have to end up doing it regardless.

            Keep the ideas coming!!
            Last edited by SkipHiLad4me; Jan. 14, 2009, 06:33 PM. Reason: #2 isn't low!
            "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

            Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

            Comment


            • #7
              i'd put it on site one, as close to the house as is logical, even attached it you get deep snow. down wind and downhill too. with a small barnyard/sacrifice area attached.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'd put it on one also, maybe making a stable yard out of the structures to reduce wind/create a sheltered area, and taking advantage of your southern exposures for passive solar heating. With that public road you have a nice set up for a two ended driveway that big trucks can access. Looks as though it is in place already? If so try to work around it if it has a good base or is paved. Keeping all the structures close can reduce some construction costs.
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for the input. We had planned on building the house on #1 due to existing workshops that the hubby wants to use and quite a few mature trees that we don't really want to take down to make room for other structures. I'll definitely keep that in consideration though. There is a 2 ended driveway to the existing house so it's definitely convenient to come and go from there.
                  "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                  Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For your current horse needs, I would not build much of a barn, unless you expect those needs to grow.
                    A small structure with run in and a way to separate two or three of the horses, if you have some injured or that need extra care, works fine for me.
                    I have a lean to onto our main Quonset barn, half is a run in shed and half three stalls with runs, for the occassional horse or two that may have to be separated.

                    Seems that you will also just have a handful of horses and mostly on pasture, that is why I am suggesting this.
                    If you go that route, you may use a different approach to what and where to build.

                    When I was building here, the builder told me to take as long as I want to plan, because you can't ever plan enough and once building, it is much harder and costly to change your mind.

                    Neat that you have so many options and are thinking about all up front.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      [QUOTE=Bluey;3805914]When I was building here, the builder told me to take as long as I want to plan, because you can't ever plan enough and once building, it is much harder and costly to change your mind.
                      QUOTE]

                      You're so right! I guess that's why I'm kinda stressing out over it. Once they build it, it's done! So I'd better be darn sure that's how I want it before we build it Fortunately it's no rush, so I've got plenty of time to over-analyze every detail.
                      "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                      Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Plan on some type of a run in situation. Barn not too far from the house, mine is 75 ft I think and that works well.

                        I have thought if I had to do it again on different property I would put in a couple of box stalls and then have large standing stalls or feed stations with small outside paddocks attached.

                        My horses tend to spend way more time in the barn than I had anticipated and they make a mess of their box stalls. The only time I need them separated is when feeding but I like the option of putting the pony up every night. I use round pen panels to build small turn outs outside the stalls so it works but I probably spent more than I needed to.
                        No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Planning well can be ever so helpful, but sometimes once you start working with what you have, you discover some drawbacks ... so if possible, try "walking" the patterns you will create with buildings and see how that works for you.

                          Use good perimeter fence and then something lesser to subdivide the pastures. Think about what kind of grass is growing in which fields and how tolerant to stress it will be to determine which months you'll use which area for pasture grazing.

                          Hot days, the horses will want shade and protection from the flies... think about where your manure pile will be too (prevailing winds).

                          If the road is not traveled much - you might be able to just run a good hose across the road to fill a water tank for summer/ spring months, then keep horses closer to the barn when the weather gets colder. Perhaps part hose and part pipe for the #3 or #4 for pasture.

                          I've always wanted a good barn with deep overhangs myself. But... I've got awonderful old bank barn. : )

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            gabz - You're right. Everything looks one way on paper but not always the same in person! I really have a hard time visualizing things like this but I think if I get a rough idea of how to lay it out, walking the fields will really help. I'll be able to get a better feel of how far stuff is going to be from each other and how easy/hard that will make it on me.

                            Fortunately I have plenty of time to think it over! We have to sell a house first and who knows how long that will take Hopefully I'll have it all figured out by then though!
                            "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                            Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would put the barn on #1 as close to the house as is feasible without cutting down any trees. Then have the pasture straddle #1 and #2, extending out through all of #2 (assuming it is good pastureland and you only have a couple horses, if you are planning that they get most of their food requirements off of it). I'd cut the pasture into at least 2 pieces and rotate it. I put the barn in #1 because this is a place you will likely be visiting at least two times a day no matter the weather, so being able to get to it with a minimum of stress is helpful. You also, theoretically will be able to hear better if there is a problem.

                              My barn is adjacent to my house, with the paddock paralleling the back of my house. My bedroom window is right off the paddock and I very much appreciate being able to hear what's happening. Sleeping through normal sounds is easy, but when there's a ruckus, I like being able to know it.

                              How fun to be planning your place!
                              Sandra

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think I would put barn on #3, mainly because it has greater access to pasture land. still close to the house for convenience. I'd probably save #2 for the ring.
                                I know turning out is easy if you just have to open a few gates and let them go. Alot easier than crossing a road, no matter how slow the traffic to turn out and at night bringing in etc. I'd go with #3.
                                http://community.webshots.com/user/summitspringsfarm

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Summit Springs Farm View Post
                                  I think I would put barn on #3, mainly because it has greater access to pasture land. still close to the house for convenience. I'd probably save #2 for the ring.
                                  I know turning out is easy if you just have to open a few gates and let them go. Alot easier than crossing a road, no matter how slow the traffic to turn out and at night bringing in etc. I'd go with #3.
                                  This is what I was thinking too. I'd go with 3, putting the barn closish to the road, which will make getting trailers, deliveries etc. in and out easier, and closer to get to, and have horse related barn features face the pasture to the right. I'd never purposefully set my self up to cross roads for turnout every day, even with low traffic.

                                  You can always fence 1, and add a run in there as future funds/time allow.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Think about who will take care of your horses if you want to go on vacation. Can they lead them somewhere for turnout and back again, or would just opening a gate be safer?
                                    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                                    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Denny Emerson had an article in CoTH on farm layout just a couple of weeks ago in their special real estate issue. Had some very good points to think about when you're designing your farm.
                                      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                      Thread killer Extraordinaire

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by gabz View Post
                                        Planning well can be ever so helpful, but sometimes once you start working with what you have, you discover some drawbacks ... so if possible, try "walking" the patterns you will create with buildings and see how that works for you.

                                        Think about what kind of grass is growing in which fields and how tolerant to stress it will be to determine which months you'll use which area for pasture grazing.

                                        Hot days, the horses will want shade and protection from the flies... think about where your manure pile will be too (prevailing winds).

                                        If the road is not traveled much - you might be able to just run a good hose across the road to fill a water tank for summer/ spring months, then keep horses closer to the barn when the weather gets colder. Perhaps part hose and part pipe for the #3 or #4 for pasture.
                                        You can't really plan EFFECTIVELY until you've spent some time on the property. Ideally, live there through a few seasons, THEN KNOW how things will WORK.

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