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How much will that new barn cost you?

Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen Published on 07 January 2016
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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2016. Current price estimates vary based on demand and inflation.



Thinking about building a new calf barn this year? Or perhaps a robotic milking system?

If that’s you, there is a new resource available to help estimate the cost of these projects and others that you may be considering for your dairy in 2016.

Led by agriculture building design professor Dr. David W. Kammel, the University of Wisconsin Extension Dairy Team recently released a fact sheet, “Building Cost Estimates – Dairy Modernization.”

This informative paper estimates whole project costs for calf, heifer and cow barns and various milking systems on a per-unit basis, and it also breaks out particular costs for things like building frames, concrete, pens and stalls and more.

For example, a calf barn with a warming room ranges from $1,500 to $2,000 per head, while a new robot setup including buildings, robots, gates and 30-day manure storage runs $12,000 to $13,000 per stall.


According to UW Extension, the figures used on the fact sheet were gathered from conversations with dairy producers and suppliers regarding 2015 dairy construction project costs.

Though the estimates do not reflect inflation or some of the out-of-pocket costs to complete a project, dairy producers will find it quite useful as they research options and assess budgets for building a variety of dairy farm facilities.

So, how much will that new facility you’ve been eyeing cost you? Ballpark it with the full fact sheet at the University of Wisconsin Extension Dairy Team website (PDF, 202KB).

PHOTO: A new fact sheet from the University of Wisconsin can help you estimate dairy building costs. Photo by Peggy Coffeen.

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