Cranston Farms

Location: Ancaster, ON
Building Size: 100' w x 260' l (30.4m x 79.2m)
Application: Pack Barn

Cattle Get Comfortable in a Fabric Covered Steel Truss Barn

Cranston Farms Structure

Doug Cranston is no stranger to fabric buildings. After experiencing success with two previous fabric buildings, Cranston decided to purchase another for use as a pack barn. Currently, there are between 85-100 cows housed in the pack barn at one time. "We tried to design a barn that was going to be simple and needed only a minimum amount of people to work in it,"¯ Cranston explains, "And the new fabric building was very labor-efficient. Cranston's 270 acre farm has been in his family since the 1950s and he took over the operation from his father in 1979. Since then, Cranston's dairy operation has flourished domestically and internationally, with shipments across the globe.

Building upon his current operations, Cranston has begun to use his fabric pack barn for manure/compost storage. Proper ventilation is crucial when working around manure, which is one reason why he likes his fabric building. "Fabric buildings work so well because of the air movement. You have so much freedom of air in these fabric buildings and you have a lot of options with how you want to set up the barn. We went for an open ridge down the middle just to get as much air through as we can," says Cranston. Air movement is necessary to keep the pack dry and remove condensation. It also improves air quality for cows and workers, creating a more comfortable and productive environment.

"The open clearspan area allows cows to wander uninhibited. The unrestricted cow movement means fewer wear points on the cows and you see much better heats." - Doug Cranston

The natural light and natural environment created by the fabric cover has lead to improvements in milk production and reproduction. "We have 6 lights right now and we'll put two more in, one on each side.


It does a beautiful job cascading the light back down into the bedding. It's a great environment to work in. Even on cloudy days, its still bright in here. We've only been in here two months and have noticed the difference. We had to put our lights on a timer because when morning comes and you're working out there, you don't even know the lights are on. We only ever turn one side of lights on at night, so it's pretty efficient.  Cranston has also found that the abundance of light makes it easier to observe his cattle, especially for heat detection. "In the old barn, you couldn't tell. There's no doubt now when a cow is in heat.

The tension fabric structure's clearspan interior has provided Cranston with an abundance of space for his operation. With high clearance doors and a pole-free, clearspan interior, there is more space for trucks to back in and unload bedding. The spacious environment has also maximized cow comfort. "The open area allows cows to wander uninhibited. Unrestricted cow movement means fewer wear points on the cows and you see much better heats.


Fabric Covered Dairy Farm Buildings and Barns 10 - Milestones Building & Design


Fabric Covered Dairy Farm Buildings and Barns 11 - Milestones Building & Design


Fabric Covered Dairy Farm Buildings and Barns 12 - Milestones Building & Design

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