Definition & Types of Farm Structures
What is Farm Structure?
This is an erection built on the farm site to make certain farm operations easier.
A small-scale farmer will usually construct simple structures, using materials available on the farm, while a large-scale farmer will construct more complex farm structures.
In Nigeria, there are many types of farm structures on a farmstead.
Types of Farm Structures and their Uses:
Farm structures are classified into three based on their uses:
a. Storage Structures.
b. Production Structures.
c. Processing Structures.
Let’s discuss some of the different types of farm structures;
a. Storage Structures:
Agricultural produce is stored in storage structures, until they are sold, consumed or used, for the next season’s farming operations. They include Silos, Cribs, Rhombus, Storage Barns, Silage Pits, Compost Pits, Water Reservoirs, Fences, etc.
Silos are tall circular or rectangular farm structures, that are made of concrete and stainless steel, where agricultural products such as maize, beans, rice, wheat, etc, are stored.
Silos can store up to 50 -100 tonnes of grain for a long period of time. They are made of galvanised metal or concrete and are usually expensive to construct.
2. Maize Cribs:
Maize cribs are majorly used to store grains like maize cobs. It is made up of wooden materials, a wire mesh of 1cm, and corrugated iron sheets, though it can be covered with woven grasses if corrugated iron sheets are not available, or are expensive for the farmer to buy.
The mesh keeps away rats and other rodents, while an insecticide like Actellis is sprayed to prevent insect attacks.
Maize crib is rectangular in shape, the length and breadth depend on the quality of maize to be stored.
One of the agricultural produce that can be stored in a barn is yam. There are different types of barns on a farm. They vary greatly depending on their purpose and size.
Yam barns are very popular in West Africa. The type used in West Africa is a temporary structure constructed cheaply with sticks, mud and thatch.
Yam tubers are usually tied up in the barn using a framework of horizontal and vertical sticks.
Grasses and hay can also be stored in a barn.
4. Grain Bins:
These containers are smaller than the silos. The containers are movable and can be transported from one point on the farm to another.
Grain bins generally store dry corn and soybeans.
This storage structure has an earthen container in which grains such as maize, sorghum, millet, etc, are kept. The earthen container is on a raised mud platform and is covered with tightly woven grasses. This is meant to keep insects and rodents away from the grains.
Fences are used to confine grazing farm animals, protect crops and animals from thieves and dangerous animals, and prevent animals from destroying the crops. They are mostly made from bamboo, wire and planks, concrete, maize and sorghum stalks.
7. Compost Pits:
This is a pit dug in the farm to make manure for crops. Waste animal and plant materials are trotted down in the compost until they form manure.
8. Waste Pits:
This is a large pit dug on the outskirts of a farm for dumping waste.
b. Production Structures:
These are structures used for producing animals and tending crops under controlled conditions. They include grazing paddocks, fish ponds, rabbit hutches, drainage structures, potting sheds for seedlings, etc.
Let’s discuss some production structures;
Paddocks are structures made for rearing animals. A Paddock is used usually in an enclosed area, used especially for grazing or exercising livestock such as cattle, poultry, swine, rabbits, etc.
2. Fish Pond:
This is also an example of a production structure on the farm. It also helps in facilitating production processes. It is also for breeding and rearing different types of fishes.
3. Rabbit Hutch:
A hutch is a type of cage found on a farm, used typically for housing domestic rabbits and other small animals. Hutches are typically constructed from wood. The floor may be wood, wire mesh, or some combination of the two.
4. Battery Cages:
Poultry Battery cages are housing systems, which are mostly used for chicken rearing, and are suitable for several methods of animal production.
5. Irrigation and Drainage Structures:
Irrigation canals are constructed to channel water, from dams, or lakes, to the fields where crops are growing.
- A drainage canal is a gutter for removing excess water from a farm.
- A dam is a stature made with stones, wood, and mud to hold back water for irrigating crops, and providing drinking water for animals.
6. Animal Dips:
This is a concrete pit in the ground used as a bath for livestock. The water contains a solution of pesticides soaked with the chemical mixture. This is done to eliminate most ectoparasites such as lice and ticks from their bodies.
c. Processing Structures:
These are structures used for housing processing equipment and machines, like grinding machines, oil-palm presses, rice mills, abattoirs, etc. Processing activities take place inside these structures.
1. Feed Mills:
This is an example of a processing structure, which is used to facilitate the processing of farm produce. It is used to produce animal feeds. The feeds to be fed to animals are blended together.
Another example of a processing structure is Abattoir, where farm animals are slaughtered and butchered, with the intention of being processed as food. An example of an abattoir is a slaughterhouse.