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Best shop feature

03/05/2012 @ 11:13am

Wash bays in farm shops are more often than not an afterthought in design. Shop space takes preference. An inside wash bay is a nice feature if you have the room. Often, that bay ends up outdoors on a concrete pad.

The Bullerman brothers' priorities were just the opposite. The Adrian, Minnesota, operation desperately needed a professional wash bay for disease control in its 3,000-head farrow-to-finish hog operation. “We deliver pigs daily with a pair of semitrucks,” says Doug Bullerman, who farms with brothers Dale, Dean, Delbert, and David in the Son-D-Farm operation. “We wash each semitruck thoroughly after every delivery as well as other trailers and feed trucks that travel to our numerous hog buildings as part of our biosecurity plan.”

And washing those trucks was costing the operation upwards of $20,000 a year at a nearby truck wash. “That was incentive enough to build our own truck wash,” Doug says.

So when the brothers took to designing a shop in 2005 after years of working in a 30×60-foot shed with a dirt floor, their primary focus was the creation of the wash bay. After visiting numerous shops and truck washes, the family put their best ideas down on paper. From that brainstorming came the plan to put up the 60-foot-wide by 120-foot-long structure. The length of the building is oriented east and west.

A partition wall runs the entire length of the structure separating the shop (which is 35 feet wide and located on the south side of the building) from the wash bay (which is 25 feet wide).

Wash bay design

The wash bay was designed to easily accommodate a semitruck with a livestock trailer. “In fact, we use it to park trucks in at night over the winter so they are warm in the morning when we make our deliveries,” Dave says.

The wash bay's walls start with 4-foot-tall concrete slabs coated with a special epoxy-base paint. “The truck washes we visited prior to building this had mold growing on the walls from moisture the concrete had absorbed,” Dave says. “So we had the concrete waterproofed to prevent that. So far it has worked great.”

Atop that concrete are typical wood-frame walls. Those walls and the ceiling are sheathed with high-density polyethylene siding. The same siding also covers the shop walls and ceiling. “That siding cost more, but it's resistant to rot, rust, and impact,” Dave says. “It's easy to clean and doesn't get dinged up like metal siding.”

The wash bay's floor slopes fully to the back of the room and to a drainage sump.

Wash water is delivered through a choice of two hose reels. One reel hosts a 3-inch-diameter hose that turns out 50 gpm. “We use this high volume hose for the initial wash of trailers,” Dave says. “It readily removes all feces and bedding.”

After the initial washing, they want everything absolutely clean, so they use a high-pressure washer. “That hose delivers 4 gpm at 3,000 psi,” Dave says. “Disinfectant is injected into the water line as a final step to control disease.”

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