Winterizing Your Barns
As the crops start drying up and the cool crisp fall air starts rolling in, animal growers should take this time when the weather is typically cooperative to prepare for winter. This time of year, growers usually remember important maintenance steps; such as tightening up your barns to prevent unwanted air leaks, checking brooders, primary minimum ventilation fans and vents for optimum operation.
However, there are a few other important points of maintenance that often get overlooked during this prime time for winter preparation. Including the following:
- Rodent control
- Attic and truss inspection
- Back-up generator checks
- Drinker maintenance
- Drainage maintenance.
Rodents can cause structural damage, harbor disease and consume feed. We recommend every grower maintain a year-round, rotational, multi-faceted rodent control program. However, we all know that in the winter, rodent pressure is greatly increased as the temperatures fall. Take the time this fall to clean and refresh your bait stations around the perimeter of your houses with new bait. Check the stations in the generator shed as well. Fall is a good time to put out fresh bait in the attics of your houses too.
Attic and Truss Inspection
A top winter preparation priority should be getting into the attic to look for signs of leaks or structural problems so you can make any needed repairs before the winter rains, snow or ice cause more problems. Pay special attention to the truss plates that hold the trusses together. Over time these can become loosened and put individual trusses at peril of failure from increased snow/ice loads. If one truss fails, it often causes other trusses to fail as the loads are unequally spread down the house. Ultimately, one truss failure can lead to total house collapse. Most minor truss issues can be repaired relatively easily and cheaply if addressed early on.
Back-up Generator Checks
Two things that often cause problems for generators in winter are moisture in the fuel and weak batteries. Temperature changes can promote condensation in your fuel tank. The best way to combat this issue is to keep the tank full of fuel. Growers should also treat their tanks in the fall with moisture dispersion additives. It is also imperative that part of your normal generator service includes checking the tank for moisture, and if any is found, taking appropriate action to clean the tank. Make sure block heaters are operational and generator is starting, transferring and running under load routinely.
One of the biggest obstacles growers face in the winter is moisture removal. If we don’t ventilate sufficiently to remove moisture, many problems occur that cost money to resolve. Wet litter, poor air quality, ammonia damage to birds – all ultimately cause poor performance and low pay checks. The only ways to remove moisture from the house are with the ventilation fans or the litter machine.
Running more fans in the winter can be costly due to the cold temperature of outside air being brought in while trying to maintain warm temperatures in the house with heaters. One opportunity growers need to take advantage of this fall is to spend some time addressing drinker issues. If we can limit the amount of water going into our litter via leaking drinkers, then that is less we have to remove with the fans.
With the expected increase in rain every winter, many farm’s drainage systems become overtaxed and overrun. The cause is simple– drainage ditches and culverts between and around the houses often get overlooked and overgrown during the long summer. This can cause numerous problems in winter. When the side house ditches become full because of a stopped up culvert between the houses at the feed bins, this water can enter the houses, causing serious problems. Severe erosion issues can also result from poorly maintained drainage systems. Some erosion problems can become so severe as to threaten the structural stability of the barn. Take time this fall to clean out those culverts, work those ditches and prepare for the rains to come.
Still have questions? No worries, QC Supply has years of knowledge and experienced associates on hand to properly guide you to the correct product. Give us a call at 888-433-5275.
If you are in the market to purchasing replacement items for your farm, well look no futher then QC Supply as your provider for all your farming needs.