How to Store Farm Equipment With a Portable Shelter
When it comes to farm equipment, shelter correlates with quality. When a tractor, cotton picker, hay baler, or similar equipment is left uncovered in the fields for months at a time, UV rays and moisture deteriorate belts, tires, bearings, and paint. This means that, by spring, equipment is more prone to breaking down and requiring repairs.
Equipment quality is proportional to costs. Studies have shown that sufficiently-sheltered farm equipment reduces repair costs by 25 percent. Long term, value doesn't decrease as sharply; in three to five years' time, a trade-in ends up being worth more.
Storing and sheltering isn't as simple as ordering a portable building, erecting the structure, and moving your farm equipment inside. Instead, for immediate and long-term planning and, ultimately, getting the most value out of your equipment, take the following factors into account.
On a basic level, portable agriculture buildings must offer the following: sufficient clearance to move equipment in and out and enough floor space for all existing and future supplies.
Any doorway to the shelter must have a minimum two-foot clearance at the width and one-foot for the height for anything that goes inside.
Floor space, on the other hand, is more complex. For calculating the square feet, take into account dimensions for existing equipment and supplies that could be purchased over the next five years; any equipment that folds up or will be hitched together; and any seasonal or short-term needs. After you calculate this basic figure, multiply it by 1.15 to allow an additional 15 percent of space.
Decide, as well, if you plan to make repairs or oil changes inside the shelter. If so, allot at least a five-foot perimeter for the workspace and an additional four feet for a bench.
Minimizing Weather-Related Damages
Simply moving your equipment into a secured portable building is not enough for reducing UV- and water-related damage. Position reduces the amount of sunlight, rain, and wind passing through.
If an open-sided design seems ideal, make sure the building is situated east to west; this configuration lessens the amount of sunlight entering and, thus, potentially deteriorating belts and other components. If a three-sided shelter offers better protection, angle the open end away from the wind direction; opening directly toward the wind brings more rain inside during a storm.
Even once these rules are followed, moisture still has potential to enter, possibly resulting in rust and other damage. For dissipating condensation and moisture buildup, install a ridge vent onto one of the shelter's sides.
Other Factors to Consider
Because farms are often commercial entities, any portable shelter set up on your property must meet state and local building codes. While each varies, most address size and placement, restricting what a farmer and agricultural facility can legally use.
As well, make sure all equipment is cleaned off before it goes inside the shelter, even if storage is only short term. As a measure to prevent condensation, rust, and cracked belts, dry off all equipment and lubricate it before moving it inside.
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