Background: As indicated by its name, the Wisconsin barn had its origins in that state. The design was originally developed by the Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Wisconsin to provide ample space for hay storage, to provide two rows of stanchions, to be able to be easily extended as herds grew, and to provide ideal sanitary conditions for the production of certified milk. Location: Although most prevalent in the Midwest, these barns are found throughout the dairy belt.
Construction Techniques and Elements: Many examples have a gambrel roof permitting a large hay mow, a gabled end hay door, side walls with rows of closely-spaced windows, low stable floor ceiling. The narrow shape provided efficient use of space, good lighting, and heat conservation. Most also have cupola ridge ventilators.
a barn. He noted that it should be of rectangular shape, and wide enough for two rows of cows. He advocated a ground level barn with a stable built of concrete blocks, double brick or stone, with plenty of windows. A window should be placed every three to four feet. The barn above the stable could be constructed of plank frame rather than timber frame. Galvanized iron was recommended for the side walls and roof.
Dimensions: A width of 34 feet was adequate if manure carriers were used but 36 or 38 feet was necessary if a manure spreader needed to be driven through. Each cow needed a stall three and one-half feet in width, and the number of cows would determine the length of the barn. The stalls would ideally measure four feet eight inches deep from manger to gutter, and the stable floor, concrete, adequately cushioned with hay. In 1937, the Midwest Plan Service offered three plans for two-story dairy barns, measuring 32 feet by 80 feet, 34 by 64 feet and 36 by 80 feet with stanchions for 20 to 28 cows. Larger barns were typicclaly about 36 by 100 feet and how 30 milk cows.
Wisconsin dairy barn plan (USDA 1939).