With a lot of silage harvesting done on livestock farms and winter crops likely to become fit within the next couple of weeks for tillage farmers, the quieter period should be used to ensure that annual maintenance is carried out on farm buildings. The older the building, the likelihood is that there will be more maintenance or repairs necessary than on newer buildings.


Power washing: livestock sheds not already power washed and disinfected should be tackled sooner rather than later. Loose bedding or dung accumulated at dividing gates should be removed prior to washing. Chemicals can be used to soften in dried dung, or the shed can be wet down for several days before completing the final jet wash.

Walls, floors, gates and side sheeting should be washed. Where there is significant black mould or cobwebs on side sheeting, this indicates a ventilation issue and should also be addressed.

Gates/barriers/door: checks should be carried out on all swinging gates and barriers that they are a) swinging freely and b) latching properly. Stiff hinges can be oiled with a light oil spray, though in extreme cases a gas torch may be required to free out seized hinges. Where gates have drooped and are not latching properly, corrective work should be complete.

Water troughs/ piping: troughs should be emptied and let fill to observe flow rate. Troughs that are very slow to fill should have their ballcock checked for stiffness or a build up of sediment inside the valve. Ballcocks should also be checked to ensure that troughs are not overfilling.

Anywhere there is a connection should be observed for leaks or damage to fittings. Power washing sheds will make identifying leaks much easier. Perished or missing seals can be replaced, and any damage or kinked piping should also be cut out and replaced with heavy duty hydrodare pipe.

Lighting: the majority of cases of fluorescent lights not working can be solved by replacing bulbs, which is much easier to complete when sheds are empty of stock or grain. Any electrical work beyond this should be carried out by a registered electrician. If an electrician is coming on site, consider installing additional lighting or replacing older fluorescent lights with LEDs as these will be brighter and lower energy. TAMS aid is available for rewiring of older sheds.

Slats: broken slats and animals in tanks of slurry are a farmer’s worst nightmare and can be costly, therefore replacement of slats should be carried out before this becomes the case.

Check (clean) slats for cracks either across the width of the slat or along the length of beams/at the connections of the ribs to each other. Observe to see if there is any sagging of slats, as much of the degradation of slats occurs from underneath. TAMS aid is available for replacing slats.


Sheeting/rooflights: loose sheeting should be either replaced or properly fixed to prevent further damage by storms or winds. Exposed sites, or those with raised roof sheets or central raised canopies are most at risk. Where sheeting has been damaged, it is worth inspecting timber purlins to ensure rot or damage hasn’t occurred.

Clear rooflights are also a structurally weak point of a roof. Broken roof lights should be replaced, and ideally, a metal safety cage installed underneath them. TAMS is available for retrofitting of safety cages under clear roof lights.

Gutters and valleys: gutters and outlets should be checked and cleaned annually to remove debris. Outlets should always be directed away from slurry or soiled water storage tanks. Valleys between two buildings are notoriously troublesome, so relevant maintenance work on these should not be forgotten.