In 2014, near Bubny settlement, construction of a robotic dairy farm for 600 livestock units was completed, site area – 7 hectares, consisting of structures of various use: production, infrastructure, and auxiliary.
State-of-the-art technologies were applied in construction of the livestock farm, which enabled completing the project within only 13 months and creating one of the most up-to-date dairy farms in Europe.
Dairy barn construction according to modern technologies demonstrates, how they can be built with minimal financial and time resources.
The cost of farm construction on turnkey basis comprised $14 mln., of which cca $900 thousand was the budget of erection of two dairy barn buildings 36×84 m each.
The project of dairy barn construction envisaged tight construction schedule, and the client wished to apply state-of-the-art livestock farming technologies.
Studying the experience of construction of leading European livestock farms showed, that prefabricated buildings based on light metal structures are the most efficient solution.
A Ruukki typical prefabricated building was used in construction of the dairy farm, with bearing structures and building envelope being designed specially for application in agricultural buildings, with account of operation in aggressive environment.
Usage of lightweight thin-walled steel structures allowed to apply pad foundations in the project. Compared to reinforced concrete frame, lightweight thin-walled steel structures allowed approximately 20% cost-saving for foundations due to reduction of the earthworks volume, reduction of materials consumption, and logistics costs. In addition to reduction of the construction budget, the client also managed to shorten the timing of works performance – it took only 5 weeks to erect 120 foundation props of the first barn.
Construction of the dairy barn was based on a 36 m wide frame from lightweight galvanized metal structures with a 3-span leaning scheme. Such a solution is fully adapted for using equipment from leading world manufacturers: BouMatic, DeLaval, Lely, Westfalia etc. In particular, the frame has integrated additional structures for installation of the Astronaut robotic milking system by Lely.
High precision of structures, as well as absence of welding and wet processes on site enabled erection of the frame of each building having area of 3,000 m2, only within 6 weeks. Application of metal structures allowed installation even in winter
Availability of an aggressive environment inside the dairy barn was the reason for usage of fully galvanized metal structures, resistant to the impact of ammoniac, chlorine, and other highly active chemical compounds.
In case of dairy barn construction, one of the vital criteria is achievement of optimal air exchange, which enables getting maximum milk yield. Air movement at the dairy farm is organized so that cold air gets into the building via the side walls, falls down to the level of the floor and, after warming, rises up, removing the ammonia and drying the manure alley. To increase air exchange efficiency, all technological solutions were incorporated into the dairy barn project, including the height of the side wall, the building rise to the roof crest, the roof slope, the correct structure of the aeration rooflight and the dimensions of ventilation curtains.
Usage of steel structures allowed creating an optimal microclimate inside the dairy farm due to increase of the roof slope to 30°, which is difficult to achieve when using a concrete frame. Such a solution permitted to avoid phenomena typical for buildings with smaller roof slope: increased humidity, emergence of smells, mist in winter, as well as the risk of animals suffering from heat stroke in summer.
Compliance with all technological parameters of the building in terms of air exchange enabled fulfillment of the animals’ maximum genetic potential.
It is worth noting that the requirements for dairy products export to the European countries strictly limit application of porous materials in dairy barns, including concrete and brick, which facilitate accumulation of microbes and bacteria. Therefore usage of steel structures in construction of the dairy farm allowed to considerably ease the procedure of obtaining product safety certificate for export to Europe by the enterprise.
The dairy farm building envelope was assembled only within 4 weeks and done so as to ensure comfortable microclimate inside the premises for maximum milk yield, as well as to minimize the building operation costs.
As far as cows generate a lot of heat, premises heating is not the decisive criterion for construction of cowsheds and calf sheds. In this case, an important requirement to the building is the ability of its building envelope to ensure stability of temperature and humidity inside the premises. For this purpose, sheet-by-sheet panels were used as the roof structures of the dairy farm, as they ensure minimum premises heating in summer and are an optimal cost-effective solution.
Polycarbonate rooflights are incorporated into the roof structure for additional lighting.
Sandwich panels ensuring high rigidity and bearing capacity for integrated ventilation curtains, were used as wall structures.
Panels with CSafe special durable coating were applied to increase the long life of wall structures. Usage of such coating allows guaranteeing operation of structures within 25 years in aggressive environment of such compounds as ammonia group and sodium hydroxide.
The correct choice of roof and wall solutions was confirmed with the fact that even at -30 °С, the temperature in the non-heated dairy barns was above zero.
Application of sandwich panels as internal partitions enabled fixing of process equipment directly to the facing of sandwich panels, thus substantially easing installation of power supply, heating, and ventilation engineering services.
During construction of the dairy farm, modern equipment for cowsheds was installed into the building structure – solutions on water treatment, microclimate, feed distribution, milking, manure removal, and care.
The dairy farm uses a fully automated milk collection system. A cow needs to enter the milking plant, in which a robot, using a 3D camera and motion sensors detects the position of the udder and milks the cow. The milking system has an integrated function of testing milk quality, determining its quantity, and analysis of the udder condition. The process of animal feeding and controlling its weight is conducted simultaneously with milking.
Feed preparation and supply is mechanized using the Gulliver feeding machine.
Usage of state-of-the-art equipment and construction technologies enabled reducing the number of service staff to 4 people.
Application of lightweight metal structures in dairy barn construction enabled fast and efficient erection of all ancillary buildings and structures: connection gallery, silo, disinfectant barrier, hay barn, garage, transformer substation etc.
State-of-the-art steel construction technology allow erection of modern dairy farms, which meet as much as possible the needs of business, and at the same time to reduce the construction timing and budget, as well as the operation costs.
Ruukki modern construction solutions based on lightweight metal structures are actively used by leading agricultural companies all over the world. In Ukraine, Ruukki full-set prefabricated agricultural buildings are presented by the Rauta company, which, when approached by a client, can surely apply a truly professional approach to design, supply, and installation.