They keep their old shop in service with the addition of an attached facility.
The Hesses inherited a 32×32-foot shop from their father. “Believe me, at the time it was put up in 1982, we were thankful for that building,” Dale Hesse is quick to point out. He dairies with his brother, Tony, near Chaska, Minnesota. “It was heated, had a concrete floor and a workbench. That was heaven for us coming from using a dirt-floor shed,” Dale Hesse says.
By 2000, the shop “was too small for half of our equipment,” he says. “Rather than abandon the old shop completely, we opted to add on a new 65-foot-long by 45-foot-wide structure.”
Today, the vast majority of that operation’s repair andmaintenance work is handled in the new shop. The old shop is still in use for repair chores, and it also houses vehicles.
“We often will take dirty equipment into the old shop to work on to keep mud and manure out of the new structure,” he says.
Walking between the two shops is a breeze, due to the Hesses’ having had an 8×8-foot overhead door installed between the two buildings.
The final touch to their updating efforts includes adding an 8×17-foot lean-to structure onto the south side of the new shop (facing their dairy’s main entrance). This addition provides much-needed space to house the dairy operation’s office.
Key to marrying the two structures together was finding a building contractor willing to do some custom fitting, such as extending the rafters on the side of the new building to create space for the office.
“They designed and built a rafter frog (a hip rafter) between the end wall of the new building and the old shop’s roof,” Hesse says. “This roof hip sheds rain and snow that would accumulate on the roof of the old shop where it meets up with the new building.”
As for the cost of the new construction, “This is the best investment we’ve made on our farm,” Hesse says. “We now have the room to be able to tackle most any repair job. With shop labor rates at $80 to $100 an hour, that provides a huge savings. Keeping equipment operating on a dairy, particularly in the winter, is crucial.”