Is Steel the Best Choice for Agricultural Buildings?

Published March 22, 2017 by Whirlwind Team

steel agricultural building

There are many reasons why steel works best for agricultural buildings. Because farmers and ranchers are constantly striving to improve their business practices, many operations have already started making the change to this durable, easy to maintain and affordable building material.

Given today's wide selection of modern designs, you also have the benefit of buildings that appear to be made with traditional materials without the associated risks or costs. Keep an eye on the following benefits when making your final decisions on new construction of metal farm buildings.


The strength of steel

You're entrusting the safety of your livestock, your crops and all that expensive equipment that ensures your farm and ranch runs well to durable agricultural buildings that will last. Steel is a perfect choice, given that it can be reinforced to withstand numerous attacks by Mother Nature.

  • It handles high winds, hard rains, common pests, rot, mildew, and fire.
  • Prepared appropriately before construction, your steel building will be highly resistant to rust and will stay easy to clean and maintain throughout its lifecycle.
  • It can also handle periodic bumps and bruises without experiencing serious damage.

This is an important part of rolling with the responsibilities of life on a farm. Whether you're dealing with anxious livestock or equipment storage, your metal construction will be able to hold up under the tough wear and tear.

Shelter for equipment and livestock

Most pieces of farm equipment cost as much or more as your house. You need to keep them in tip-top shape to run your farm or ranch. As you have no doubt experienced, much of farm and ranch country experiences temperatures from well below zero to the hundreds with all the attendant rain, snow, ice, hail, and dirt that comes with it.

Your equipment needs to be stored inside four walls and a roof to keep it running well. You also want to keep it in one piece, and there's always someone waiting to make a buck at your expense. The digital devices that are becoming standard equipment in many agricultural vehicles seem to attract thieves that think nothing of smashing a window or ripping out the wiring to get what they want.

Some of the more extreme weather can be hard on your livestock, too. Pigs, cattle, alpacas, turkeys, whatever you raise can be easily and safely housed in a metal agricultural building. In fact, a metal farm building can be easier to customize to your particular animal’s needs.

Steel buildings are easily insulated to keep the inside environment stable. Air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems contribute to the comfort of the animals, keeping the air moving and at a temperature that is productive for them and you.

Storage and more

Specialized rooms for milking, storage, bathing, and butchering can be added on to an existing building or created as part of the original structure. You can design storage space for feed, product, clothing, and equipment in close proximity to your animals. There is no need for you or your animals to go out in a blizzard or thunderstorm to reach another building or go out to pasture.

Other farming products such as wheat, corn, cotton, sorghum, and soybeans can be stored in specially designed metal farm buildings. You can replace the old silo, or you can build a new one out of steel.

If you need to expand later, it’s easy to add space by placing an addition on an endwall or by building lean-to type structures on the sides of your buildings. Since steel buildings are clear span, you have a large open space you can arrange to suit your needs without working around interior columns or supports.

A metal truss system opens up wasted overhead space. Your design options increase exponentially when you can avoid columns, supports, and a webbing of wooden trusses.


Steel buildings now run the gamut from basic barebones structures to thick, insulated construction with rock or brick fronts. You can create whatever impression you want and don't need to be hemmed in by designs of the past. In addition, you are still looking at lower expenses for construction and ongoing upkeep when you choose to build a steel agricultural building.

There are several reasons that steel agricultural buildings are cheaper than the alternatives.

  • For starters, most steel buildings are pre-fabricated, meaning their parts are manufactured at a factory and then delivered on-site where they are put together quickly and easily. This greatly reduces labor and material costs.
  • Steel building systems can also save you architectural design and engineering fees because a premanufactured building comes with a set of engineered plans and specifications you can submit to the local building department for review and approval.
  • They also enjoy lower insurance rates, are more energy efficient and have lower costs for maintenance throughout their lifecycle.

Easy transitions

When your needs change, you can easily modify a steel agricultural building regarding shape or space so that razing, removing and rebuilding aren't necessary to keep things on your farm or ranch running smoothly. For people operating a business, this is often the greatest savings.

Building additions onto traditional construction can be more expensive than simply tearing a structure down and starting from scratch. A steel barn can be partially disassembled and pieced together with other prefabricated parts that fit your new requirements.

Advantages of a steel building over a pole building

First off, there is no direct ground-to-wood contact, eliminating a common source of rot. Steel buildings are supported by a reinforced concrete foundation that could not be used for a wooden structure.

Second, the wall girts are installed perpendicular to the metal siding, giving you lots of space for insulation and plywood or sheetrock sheathing without added framing of furring you need in a pole barn.

When considering a new metal farm building, look into the reasons why steel works best for agricultural facilities. You may be surprised at the amount of money you will save investing in a metal structure, and the latest designs are sure to impress even the most fastidious business owner.

Rusting, leaning box-shaped buildings truly are a thing of the past. Today's innovations in construction, materials, and architecture make steel a valuable investment.

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