Consider building a single site to store all feed needs, suggests John Tyson, Penn State Cooperative Extension ag engineer. For one thing, it keeps feed traffic in one area.

“The person responsible for the feeding can load the mixer with a minimal amount of movement, making feeding faster and more efficient,” he says.

In designing a feed center, operators should also consider where they plan to house their mixers, tractors and loaders, which could be in an adjacent machinery shed, a part of the commodity storage building or another nearby building. Leave enough access and dumping room for large trucks and semitrailers to deliver feed from fields or highways.

Plan the storage location and feeding areas around good traffic patterns. Limit traffic to that directly involving the feeding system. Design a traffic pattern so harvesttime feed delivery won't interfere with the everyday feeding process, he adds. And keep lanes, roads and aisles wide enough to allow for unhindered movement of feed vehicles. Separate travel paths for workers and animals causes less interference and is also safer.

And remember to leave enough room for expansion, he adds. “In planning, the rule of thumb is to project needs five years into the future and then double them. This leaves room for expansion, even though only the capital investment is made to meet immediate or near-term needs,” Tyson concludes.