In recent years, Americans have witnessed large swine finishing barns constructed by their neighbours. Some of these barns were constructed by the neighbour to farm their own pigs, and some for growing the pigs for another swine producer on a contract basis.

The motivation and reasons farmers build a barn differ by individuals. Farmers are beginning to realize that livestock production, be it private or contract production, offer a hedge against erratic grain prices and allow them to utilize labour year-round.

Why Build a Hog Barn?

Hog manure is an excellent source of crop nutrient and is another reason farmers are constructing hog barns. The value of the manure differs according to the prices of commercial fertilizer, but recent years have shown it to be $4-$6/head on most wean-to-finish barns. Notably, the rule of thumb is that for every 1,000-head capacity a barn has, there is usually manure produced to fertilize 80 acres, so a 2,500-head barn usually will do 200 acres.

However, the hog industry has improved and learned a lot about how to build a hog barn over the past few years. It is realistic to assume that a hog barn can now last 30-40 years. Keeping moisture and rodents out of a barn, and keeping the ventilation system in good shape is a major key to a barn’s longevity, and years of profitable production.

Total Cost of Constructing a Hog Barn

The cost of constructing a hog barn has risen over the past few years, and building a barn today will probably run $300 – $310/pig space. A 2,500-head facility will run $750,000 – $800,000, turnkey. Although this is no small investment for any operation, most construction loans run 10-15 years, depending on how the loan is structured. Note that most contract situations allow a payment schedule that meets the loan obligations and allows some return for labour, but the payoff truly is at the end of the loan.

In the united states, a lot of people that have built facilities have had little to no previous experience with swine production. However, an ideal way to venture into livestock production is to work with livestock integrators. These experts will teach you to raise hogs with the management practices that fit their situations.

One major concern is that they look for people with a solid work ethic, and a good eye for details. For producers wishing to raise their own pigs, there are a lot of sources of coaching available, starting with the veterinarians, builders, and feed suppliers they associate themselves with.

Estimated Cost Breakdown for Building a Hog Farm

First and foremost, the information presented below is not a comprehensive list but an estimate of the costs of building a hog farm from the scratch. Costs have been gathered from detailed research and the estimated costs gathered from farmers across the country.  Note that these costs may not reflect some of the out-of-pocket costs to build a hog farm not the entire cost of the project.

Some costs represent material costs only and do not include installation labour. Some costs such as plumbing and electrical installation are more difficult to quantify on per square foot or per head basis. In addition, these Costs are for 2020 and do not account for future inflation. They also do not reflect the supply and demand cycle of the construction industry and the construction season.

Note that accurate costs can only be determined by obtaining competitive bids from suppliers and builders and should include materials, installation labour, and project management costs.

1. Outside Lots & Fencing

  • Concrete Lot – $2.75 per square foot
  • Corral panels – $20 per linear foot 50” high
  • 2” pipe fence panels – $15 per linear foot
  • Highway Guard Rail– 12” W beam – $3.00 per linear foot
  • Hog Panel– 16’ x 50” high – $1.90 per linear foot

2. Building Frame

  • Post frame roof, open front/no floor – $9.00 per square foot
  • Materials 2020 – $5.60 per square foot
  • Construction labour – $2.70 per square foot
  • Post frame with truss, posts in ground – $7.00-$12.00 per square foot
  • Additional 8’ to 10′ bay – $6.00-$9.00 per square foot
  • Hog barn, open front 40′ wide includes building frame, 25’ wide concrete floor, curtains, and doors – $16.50 per square foot
  • Post frame overhang – $8.00 per square foot
  • Steel frame on pier foundation – $12.00 per square foot
  • Additional 20′ bay – $15.00 per square foot
  • 2’ x 6’ stud frame wall (insulated) – $25.00 per square foot

3. Pens and Stall Work

  • Rubber flooring, 1/2″ thick – $2.50 per square foot
  • Fibreglass post and rod gates or fence – $12.50 per linear foot
  • Steel tube gates or fence – $7.50 per linear foot
  • 4″ x 7’ galvanized steel post – $100 each
  • 6″ x 8″ x 8’ treated wood post – $54 each

4. Doors

  • 3’x 7′ personal door steel/fibreglass – $400 each
  • Slider – $5.00 per square foot
  • Overhead – $9.00 per square foot
  • Door opener, large door – $800 each
  • Door opener, small door – $400 each

5. Wall Sheathing

  • Painted steel corrugated – $1.00 per square foot
  • Plastic corrugated flat panel (8mm thick) – $1.50 per square foot
  • Plastic, 1/8″ corrugated – $1.75 per square foot
  • Polycarbonate – $1.75 per square foot
  • OSB, 1/2” thick – $0.60 per square foot

6. Roof Insulation

  • Bubble – $0.50 per square foot
  • 2″ vinyl covered fibreglass, labour and material – $1.25 per square foot
  • 1″ foil covered rigid board – $0.75 per square foot
  • Dripex covering – $1.00 per square foot

7. Ventilation

  • Covered Ridge – $10.00 per linear foot
  • Curtain Gathered – $18.00 per linear foot
  • Welded wire panel protection for curtain – $0.50 per square foot
  • Panel Fans – $700 each Exhaust Fans (in wall)
  • Tunnel Ventilation Fans with Cone – $1,300 each
  • Large Diameter 20′ Paddle Fan (High Volume Low Speed, HVLS) – $6,000 each
  • Ceiling Fan 5′ Diameter – $200 each

8. Feed Storage

  • Vertical silo – $1.40 per cubic foot
  • Horizontal silo concrete walls – $0.52 per cubic foot
  • 5″ concrete feed storage pad with #4 rebar (1/2”), 18″ on centre – $4.00 per square foot
  • Asphalt feed storage pad – $2.30 per square foot
  • Bulk feed bin – $2,200 each

9. Excavation 

  • Excavation for site preparation – $4.00 per square foot or $3.00 per cubic yard
  • Top soil stripping – $2.20 per cubic yard
  • Earth fills, on site – $3.00 per cubic yard
  • Lane with screenings, 16′ wide – $6.00 per linear foot

10. Manure Storage

  • Concrete stacking pad with buck wall – $3.50 per square foot
  • Slatted floor tank under shelter – $1.50 per cubic foot
  • Concrete vertical wall tank – $0.90 per cubic foot
  • Clay lined lagoon – $36,000 + $0.08 per cu. ft.
  • Concrete lined lagoon – $47,500 + $0.40 per cu. ft.
  • 18″ double wall corrugated HDPE (installed) – $19.00 per linear foot
  • 1″ diameter water line, installed below ground – $2.00 per linear foot
  • 4′ deep huffcut channel – $93 per linear foot
  • 8′ x 8′ x 8′ concrete transfer tank with lid – $5,000 each

11. Manure Handling

  • Chopper pump – $11,000 each
  • Piston pump – $18,000 each
  • Vertical piston pump – $27,000 each
  • Agitator – $6,000 each

Conclusion

The average cost of building a hog barn of the type described above will average $450,000. The resale value of this hog barn will hold at approximately $340,700, or an approximately 77% return on investment. Traditionally, most hog barn owners who cannot tackle the project themselves will usually opt to work with a single contractor, who identifies suitable subcontractors and pulls proper permits for the project.

Joy Nwokoro