TC806, Garvo, and others really have me thinking about building a cattle barn for my small herd of feeders. Our farm is a row crop farm but I feel like adding some cattle is something I can to do make another niche for myself on our family's farm. I can graze the cattle on the cropland when the crop is off, which I have had good luck doing (see pict 2), but my pasture is limited to a few acres of waterway so I need somewhere to keep/fatten the cattle when the cropland is doing what it does best.
Got outbid on a nice hoop barn at auction today so other options keep coming to mind. We have an existing 36x48 pole shed that has three open bays on the east side. Dad will let me use one of these bays for cattle and another bay to store my grain (ground ear corn) and to back a trailer in with small squares of hay on it (that I have access to from another farm). See my attached drawing. To make a more worthwhile space, I think I could add a 16x36 lean-to pretty economically to the south side of the barn to give me a 32x36 space or room for almost 30 head. The lean to would not have any walls, just fencing. I would put my feed bunks (which I am going to try to make out of large tile cores cut in half) inside the building because I would be feeding by hand off a trailer in the building and with 5gal buckets of grain from a bulk pile/bin. How many feet of bunk space do you figure for 30 head? Also, I would pour 8x36 feet (or more?) of concrete behind the bunk and the rest would be a dirt or lime floor. I would bed with either straw or cornstalks, small squares to start, maybe rounds someday and would contain the manure to give to dad for use on the row crops in return for screwing up his machinery storage!
Maybe I am all wrong with this, but I think by doing the work myself I could do things for a reasonable price and have a good start up building to get my feet wet. If cattle don't work out we would just have a little extra storage space and I would not be out too much. Send any suggestions/questions my way, hopefully I described what I am thinking somewhat clearly, let me know if I did not. Thanks!