Farming forum: Barn Orientation

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So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Sep 8, 2013 9:09 AM CST
While planning the new barn, I keep coming across conflicting information on barn orientation (ie., north-south vs east-west). Both sides list the various pros/cons and the preference does not seem to be geographically linked (cold vs hot climate).

I have been studying the old structures (dating back to the depression era or earlier) on our plot and see that all of the buildings and remaining pads have been rotated approximately 12 degrees from the east-west axis roughly like so:

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There are multiple pads/buildings situated like this and they span over several acres so I believe that it was intentional. Any ideas as to why they would have rotated the buildings (does not appear to be topographically related)? Also. how has everyone else oriented their barn(s)?
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Sep 8, 2013 10:53 AM CST
Normally if you have a center-aisle barn you align it with the prevailing summer winds. Mine, therefore, faces SSE to allow the wind to blow through down the aisle.
Porkpal
Name: Joy Hall
Hempstead, TX (Zone 8b)
Lonesome Pine Farm
Farmer Region: Texas Dog Lover Hummingbirder Keeps Goats
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rouxcrew
Sep 8, 2013 11:16 AM CST
My barn which has a 14' wide center aisle, faces roughly north and south for the same reason. We have about a 300 day growing season and it really does help keep the inside cooler.
People, like sheep, tend to follow a leader - occasionally in the right direction. Alexander Chase
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Sep 8, 2013 11:51 AM CST

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Mine is the same thing. Aligned perfectly with the summer winds so it faces SSE.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Sep 8, 2013 3:42 PM CST
Thank you all for the input.

After reading your responses, I checked our Texas location on USAirnet and we are located in the transition zone between SE to E winds. So, it appears the buildings were situated to take full advantage of the breeze, too.

It is odd that the university, association and government sites seem to focus on the alignment of a barn in relationship to the sun's daily and annual position and not the prevailing wind direction. I will go ahead and follow suit with all of you (and with the buildings already present on our land) and run the next barn in the same direction as the others. It seems to me that any benefit received by running the barn purely E/W or N/S in terms of heat reduction (sun position) is negligible in comparison to the cooling effect from the breeze and ventilation boost received by rotating the barn.

Again, a thousand thank yous!
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Kathleen Tenpas
Wickwire Corners NY (Zone 5a)
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Kathleen
Sep 10, 2013 3:33 PM CST
I'm late to the party, but I do have a comment. Our barn is situated on a north-south line, the prevailing winds are southwest/west. I'm not sure why they built the barn the way they did, but there were too many times that I wished it had been east-west for drainage purposes - nothing worse than coming to the barn first thing in the morning and finding poo laden gutters full of water. Now, the direction of the barn seems to fit well with the new section of the barn open to the breezes in the summertime with the curtain walls. I'd say check your prevailing wind, but also check your drainage and the direction that water will run out of the barn.

So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Sep 10, 2013 4:39 PM CST
I pulled a topo map initially when placing the building and we are good to go. Our new barn will be rotated like the older buildings and, fortunately, that orientation just happens to prevent water runoff from entering the buildings as well as capturing the breeze.

Thank you for the reminder, though. I would be very unhappy to find the barn flooded.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Sep 10, 2013 6:00 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

When we built our barn we had an excavator come and reshape the land to provide proper flow and drainage.
Name: Jeff
Perry Iowa (Zone 5a)
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PerryJeff
Sep 19, 2013 3:37 PM CST
I have one barn north south and one east west with northwest main winter wind and south west summer winds. They were here long before I was . Think snow drifting is main concerns when built?
Name: Jeff
Perry Iowa (Zone 5a)
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PerryJeff
Sep 19, 2013 6:45 PM CST

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Red barn open bottom facing east open white barn to south
My fall project to put metal roof on white barn.
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Sep 22, 2013 3:13 PM CST
And I am late to this parade too, but I have to ask.............what is the use of this barn going to be?
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Sep 23, 2013 6:45 AM CST
The barn (along with several other buildings) on our place date back to the depression era. Although the old barn is working well for the sheep and goats, I would like a new one for a couple of milk cows and the dairy goats. We do have what I believe is an old milking shed (ramp and all) but it is so dilapidated that it is time for a new place to milk.

Jeff- beautiful barns!
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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OldGardener
Sep 23, 2013 6:49 AM CST
Jeff- snow drift would not have been a concern as we are located in central Texas.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln

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