Roxbury, Delaware County Roofed Barnyard, Milkhouse Waste System, Silage Leachate Collection System, Animal Trail & Walkway

The 70-cow dairy VanValkenburg Farm presented water quality issues across the board. Nutrient runoff from the barnyard flowed directly into the stream seven feet away, with this small tributary off Johnson Hollow Brook draining into the Schoharie Reservoir. Milkhouse waste discharged into a dry well also located along the stream. Silage leacheate trickled from the existing tower silo.

“This location was tough,” noted Tim Hebbard, Engineering Technician for the Watershed Agricultural Council. “There was hardly any room to work. Constrained by space and elevations, technically, it was the most difficult covered barnyard I’ve ever built. We had to account for the existing barn, silo, stream, electric and utility wires. There was a lot going on in a little area.” To accommodate elevation variations, the Planning and Engineering Team proposed a ramp out of the barn door that went up to a grade feasible for construction. Dave Parker of Parker Excavating oversaw the $180,000 project. He removed 475 cubic yards of excavation material that was stockpiled for later use. Ron Peplinsky poured concrete and Jim Cole completed the timber fabrication. The Team laid out the entire project first to make sure they had accounted for the many, different interacting pieces in elevation changes in the barnyard, ramp, crossing, road access, existing barn and existing silo. Electric powerlines were moved out of the right of way to accommodate farm equipment and its turning radius.

Construction included composite-laminated PermaColumns, tin roof and sun-sky panels to allow light into the 52-foot by 104-foot covered barnyard. Fourteen-foot-high trusses and a 19-foot by 16-foot long, 4-foot-high corner buckwall with a 10-foot high retaining wall permit large machinery entry for barnyard clean-up. A gravity-fed spring provides continuous winter water on the pad. Tin exterior walls block prevailing winds and reduce drifting snow. A 289-foot diversion ditch surrounding the foundation addresses drainage issues. The covered walkway runs 12 feet wide by 65 feet long from the existing dairy barn to the new barnyard. The barnyard is configured to allow a tractor and wagon to drive onto and through the barnyard to unload corn sileage to a tower silo. A concrete apron around the silo collects leachate and diverts it to a 2,000-gallon pre-cast, below-ground milkhouse waste tank away from the stream. A stream crossing to nightly pasture removes animals from the stream. Per the landowner’s request, the 400-foot walkway is stone dust instead of gravel for better hoof health, compacted surface and manageability.