Preventive Maintenance for Farm Structures

Snow, high winds and cold temperatures are challenging winter conditions for farm structures. Our province can experience extreme weather conditions – rain on top of existing snow, drifting snow and unbalanced snow loads on roofs can add to the stress already facing farm buildings from winter weather.

There are several structural factors that, along with winter weather, can cause roof and building damage. Damaged and deteriorated buildings and structures and a roof's slope and design all play a role in a building's stability.

Farmers need to regularly check on the condition of their buildings to maintain building stability and safety. We have some tips to help prevent damage in winter weather conditions.

Winter weather conditions can put stress on farm buildings and structures.

Winter weather conditions can put stress on farm buildings and structures.

Important: Take all necessary safety precautions when working from ladders and at heights.

  1. Look for snow build up on your roofs and structures.
    • Consider hiring qualified people to remove the snow. Otherwise, work with at least one other person.
    • Remove some, but not all, of the snow from one area of the roof, then move to another area, gradually working your way around the building. Gradual snow removal prevents unbalanced loading conditions.
  2. Look for areas of your buildings and structures that are damaged or weak, particularly in the roof trusses and the truss plates.
    • Clean and reinforce or protect all truss plates that are showing signs of rust.
    • Have an engineer complete a building assessment if you find an area of your building with significant deterioration.
  3. Assess your building's wind bracing components. 
    • Repair damaged or weakened components to help strengthen the overall building structure.
  4. Make sure downspouts and other drainage components are able to direct water away from the structure.

Farm buildings and structures should be able to withstand a range of weather conditions. You can prevent damage to your buildings, and the items inside them, by making sure your buildings are strong and stable.

We encourage you to always use best management practices when working around livestock and farm buildings. We recommend that you check the condition of your buildings before roofs are under heavy loads.

Get more information on farm safety, agricultural structures, adverse weather and maintaining truss plates.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Dan McDonald - Civil Systems Engineer/OMAF and MRA
Creation Date: 12 February 2014
Last Reviewed: 12 February 2014