Aholan Maito

Cows of an organic dairy farm enjoy the peace and quiet of a fabric-covered building

The organic milk producer Aholan Maito commissioned a fabric structure as an additional space for its animals. The steel-structured fabric building has met the farm’s agricultural needs so well that it is likely that their next construction investment will also be a fabric-covered building with a steel structure.

When the Ahola dairy farm needed a new shelter for its animals, the entrepreneur, Tarmo Väisänen, decided to weigh all the potential building options. He was aware of the advantages of fabric-covered buildings in the industrial field, so why wouldn’t they also work for agriculture?

“We needed a space where we could move pregnant or non-lactating cows to from the milking parlour while they do not produce milk. A peaceful and spacious shelter with about -5 degrees Celsius is an optimal space for this. The space must remain well ventilated in the summer, and the drinking water cannot freeze in the winter. After the review, I came to the conclusion that a fabric structure is an excellent choice for this purpose.”

Bespoke strength calculations and structure

The new fabric-covered barn for young cattle was completed in autumn 2019. Väisänen considers the light foundation requirements and fast-paced commissioning as the advantages of a steel-structure building.

“The building could even be built straight on asphalt, but we wanted to cast a concrete foundation which would allow us to build resting areas for the animals and other interior structures. The building was standing a week after the foundation had dried, and we were able to bring the animals inside the new hall straight from the pasture in the autumn.”

Väisänen chose Best-Hall due to the safety and durability of its structure. He wanted a building that meets the construction strength requirements of snow and wind loads related to the building’s location and the conditions of its environment. The investment subsidy granted for the construction by the local Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment also established some quality requirements.

As agricultural structures, fabric buildings are still quite a new phenomenon, but I’m certain that high-quality, bespoke buildings built based on strength calculations, such as Best-Hall’s structures, will become more popular”, Väisänen says.

Echo-free building helps the animals stay calm

The objective of Aholan Maito was to create more space for the animals, thereby increasing their well-being. Both the farmer and the animals have been happy with the choice.

“The cows have enjoyed the quiet and bright building. Echoing spaces often create unnecessary panic for animals, but the fabric covering absorbs sound, which makes for a calming environment. Thanks to the natural light penetrating through the ceiling and the great ventilation valves, the conditions are also as close to natural as possible.”

In addition to the pleasant working environment, the farmer also praises the wall material, which is flexible enough to take some hits without showing a mark.
Väisänen considers the fabric-covered building as an investment in the future with a life-cycle of up to several decades, with just replacing the fabric, if necessary.

“Based on this experience, I have to say that the next building to be built on this farm will probably also be a fabric-covered building,” the master of Ahola farm summarises.