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New Livestock Barn Built Underground
"You'll cut heating and insurance costs in half by building your livestock buildings underground." That's the word from Steve Anderson, a Markesan, Wis. farmer who built his new veal calf barn underground last year and is reaping the benefits now.
Except for the concrete floor, his 40-ft. by 132-ft. barn is built completely from pressure-treated wood. Studs are 4 by 4's and 6 by 6's. Siding is tongue and grooved 2 by 6 in. planks. Roof trusses are built to hold up to 265 lbs. per sq. ft. and are covered with 30 in. of dirt.
The entire structure is covered by five alternating layers of tar paper, and tar topped by a layer of polyethelene plastic.
Except for three venting cupolas on top and one end of the building, the barn is completely sealed underground. Four exhaust fans pull air through the building.
Anderson expects to save $1500 to $2000 a year with the 240-calf facility. The $75,000 building cost him 10 to 15% more than it would have above-ground, but this additional cost, he feels, will be offset by the savings in heat and insurance.
"Building costs went about 15% over estimates because of unanticipated expenses, such as extra excavating and reinforcing. The total cost figure of $75,000 includes all equipment inside and a well," he points out.
Anderson, who had no experience building underground and knew of no one who did, had help from the Underground Space Center, affiliated with the University of Minnesota Department of Engineering, Minneapolis, Minn. The Center has recently come out with what is said to be the most comprehensive book on building underground ever published. Although the book focuses on building houses, the principles apply to any underground structure.
Anderson wants to share ideas with interested readers about building 'underground and would like to hear any new ideas. Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Steve Anderson, Rt. 2, Markesan, Wis. 53946 (ph 414 398-2273).

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1980 - Volume #4, Issue #2