Steel buildings offer livestock farmers major improvement
By CHRIS KICK
NEW WESTON, Ohio — Ted Ruchty has been putting up freestall barns and other farm buildings for more than 20 years. Up until the past year, wood has been the primary material.
But with some coaxing from the staff of K Buildings, he’s now using steel as his main frames, and having a lot of success.
New venture. Ruchty first started with steel frame buildings about a year ago, and has a growing list of dairymen who want his services. It makes sense, he said, because the price is similar, the building strength is greater and there’s more open space inside, which means fewer posts to negotiate and fewer places for birds to nest.
A typical wooden, four-row freestall barn requires center posts, he said. But with steel, they can be avoided, allowing for box stalls in the center, more ventilation and a better building all around.
“I’ve been a builder for 25 years and they’re going to be a pretty good building in the dairy industry,” he said. “There’s a really good market for them.”
That market has mostly been in western Ohio, working with his supplier, Elgin Service Center of Elgin, Ohio. K-Buildings can serve a wide variety of agricultural and residential uses, and is no stranger to Ohio, or the Midwest.
The company has 20 dealers in seven states, including Ohio’s border states, said a K Buildings spokesperson.
Ruchty and other K Buildings dealers can install smaller size barns, on up to 700 or so feet long. Installation is relatively easy, he said, and if the groundwork is done properly, the construction takes half the time of a wood building, he said.
Demand is there. Ruchty already has a growing list of construction projects at farms in Ohio, but is adding to it as he can. He’s reviewed steel frame barns that are 30 years old and still strong, the biggest factor being some surface rust.
A steel frame may cost slightly more than wood, but not much.
“You’re spending more for material, but you’re getting a better quality building,” he said.
Ventilation and moisture have always been big focus areas for his construction projects, and he’s always trying to reduce the problem of birds. He estimates modern barns reduce 99 percent of a bird’s likelihood of establishing itself inside.
“You can’t keep the birds out of them, but you can eliminate the nesting spots,” he said.
Lots of uses. Whether it’s dairy, equine, or just a solid storage building for equipment, K Buildings offer a lot of choices, and custom preferences.
Their Elgin website bills them as “quite possibly the last building you will ever need.”
Ruchty called the K Building “the perfect building. No longer are we calling out defects in solid sawn lumber, nor are we spending the time and expense required keeping the buildings square.”