Recently Constructed Barns
The key factor in the evolution of twentieth century dairy barns was the change in hay storage. Instead of loose hay being stored in a hayloft or haymow, round bales of hay could be stored in the fields. As a result, it was no longer necessary to have a large "attic" in the dairy barn. Recent construction makes dairy barns much less distinctive...
In addition, beginning in the 1940s, agricultural scientists began to question whether cows needed stalls or would be more content if permitted to roam in and out of the barn at will. The result was the construction of one-story, all-steel barns, many of which were designed to engineer-prepared plans, employed manufactured materials, and, in some cases were factory-built from standard components.
History: The Quonset barn is a descendant of the Quonset hut, a building first used by the U.S. Navt at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island. After the end of World War II, the fabricatorsof these buildings, the Stran Steel Division of Great Lakes Steel Company, touted them for peacetimeuses.
Location: A total of 160,000 Quonset huts were manufactured by the mid-1950s. Many of these buildings survive in a variety of uses. Quonset barns of various typesare uncommon but widespread.
Construction Techniques: The Quonset hut was constructed of galvanized iron with a hemispherical cross-section.
Dimensions:The earliest Quonset huts measured 16 by 36 feet. The huts' dimensions were later enlarged to increase interiorspace, and the standard later building measured 20 feet by 48 feet and weighed 3.5 tons.
Quonset Barn, Whiteman County, Washington. From Washington State Historic Preservation Office.
Single-Story Stall Barn (1920s-present)
Stall barn (USGS 1939).
History: The modern stallbarn without haw mow was first introduced in the Midwest in the late nineteenth century but remained relatively few in number before the 1930s.These barns were more widely builtduring the Depression-era as theyprovided lower-cost housing for dairy cows due to the use of a lighter, less-expensive frame. One-story barns had the distinct advantage of separating highly flammable hay from the livestock. In addition, single story barns were less succeptible to wind dmaage than taller structures. Some one-story barns were constructed as the wings ofolder two-story barns with the older structures still providing hay storage.
Location: widespread throughout dairying areas.
Construction Techniques and Elements: Earlier examples of this building type were often wood-framed or constructed of concrete block. More recent examples frequently employ steel construction in a pole building design.
Dimensions: Typical stall barns are 36 feet wide and range from 60 to 150 feet long.
Loose Housing Barn (1940s-present)
History: A few Midwestern farms employed pen barns or loose housing beginning in the late nineteenth century. The first systematic study of loose housing was conducted by Wilbur Fraser, a University of Illinois dairy specialist, and was published in 1905. Fraser found that unrestrained cows did not injure one another as had been believed. The cows were healthy and apparently more productive than restrained cows. Although pen barns required more floor space than conventional barns, they were less expensive to built because they did not need a complicated arrangement of stalls, gutters, and stanchions. A University of Wisconsinn study in 1941 confirmed Fraser's conclusions. By 1960, stall barns were typically used for herds of less than 50 to 60 cows in Wisconsin, while loose housing was used for larger herds..
Location: Examples of loose housing are found throughout the United States.
Construction Techniques and Elements: The loose housing is a flexible arrangemet of buildings and open lots designed for efficient milking and management of dairy herds. A complete loose-housing facility is composed of: (1) a farm milking plant which includes a milking room or barn, a milkhose, and usually a concentrate feed bin; (2)roughage and concentrate feeding facilities for cows and young stock; (3)storage space forhay, silage, and bedding; (4) resting areas foradults and young stock;(5)maternity, hospital and calf pens' and (6)an open lot.
An example of the interior layout of a loose housing barn is shown below.
Loose housing (University of Maryland Agricultural Extension).
Dimensions A small loose houing barn could be as small as 36 by 60 feet, while larger barns could be 82 by 150 feet or larger.
Heifer ban (Midwest Plan Service).
Background: The purpose of the heifer barn is to provide a place to raise young stock until they are ready to breed or yield milk. It must enable the farmer tosupply replacement stockready to breed at 13 to 15 months of age and to provie a healthful, comfortable environment for calves and heifers.
Location: widespread throughout dairying areas.
Construction Characteristics: As with dairy barns, heifer barns may be constructed with stalls for individual animals orwithout designated stalls. Designs of heifer barns are shown below. Depending on climate, heifer barns could be fully enclosed or simply an open, shed-roofed canopy. The latter is sometimes calleda "loafing shed."
Dimensions: Loafing sheds can vary in length from 24 feet to substantially longer, depending on the size of the herd, while modern heifer barns are usually approximately 48 feet wide with a length depending on the size of the herd."