Snow storm leads to at least 12 area barn roofs collapsing

By: Amelia Cerling Email
By: Amelia Cerling Email

Mother Nature made her presence known this weekend to a dozen farmers in Dunn, Pepin and Buffalo counties.

At least 12 barn roofs collapsed on Saturday due to the nearly two feet of snow that fell over the course of the snowstorm.

We visited Churchview Dairy in Pepin County on Monday, the owners tell us they were both inside their 13-year-old barn Saturday evening when the roof caved in.

“I heard a big gust of wind and the barn kinda shook, and then my brother came in and says the roof just collapsed,” co-owner of Churchview Dairy Gary Bauer says.

The site is impressive. But Bauer says the roof collapse has been a huge mess for his family.

“Well right now it's a headache, because there's no roof over the barn, the barns all cold, the manures in there, that's freezing up in there, it's making it tough, it's cold,” he tells us.

And it's a problem Bauer thought he'd never have to deal with

“Too much snow, one time,” he says. And when we asked if this had ever happened before, “Nope, never thought it would,” he replies.

And in fact, extension agent Bob Cropp says most farmers shouldn't have had to worry about this.

“For the most part these barns are built for a very heavy snow load,” Cropp explains.

And he adds most of the barn roofs that caved in are relatively new, and all were built up to farm building standards.

He says this roof collapse and the nearly dozen others in the area are proof that Mother Nature can still get the best of us.

“A reminder that we can't build every building to the kind of specifications that can handle every part of nature that's out there,” he says.

Cropp says that the blowing wind on Saturday also played a major role in these roof collapses. He says in many cases, the wind carried most or all of the snow from one side of a roof to the other side, which often led to a collapse.

Churchview Dairy lost six cows during it's roof collapse on Saturday, but the Bauer say they're lucky they didn't lose a lot more.

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  • by Dairy Farmer Location: Dunn Co on Dec 15, 2010 at 05:15 PM
    We lost our freestall barn due to the weight of the snow. We had 22 inches of snow at our farm. The shed was built in 1971 and measured 58' by 160' with a truss every 4'. It was reroofed in 2005 and has been kept in good repair. It runs east/west and the initial point of collapse appears to be the southwest corner. It looks like the snow built up unevenly, with the majority on the south side, as the roof appears to have shifted northward as it collapsed. We are just thankful that none of the 71 cows inside at the time were injured and that we are still able to house, milk and feed them at our own place. Rough estimate to rebuild with that number of trusses again $90,000. Hopefully people realize that while the price of dairy products in the store may seem high, the farmer receives less than 20% of that price. Rebuilding will be very costly for all those farmers affected.
  • by CountyRes Location: Chippewa County on Dec 15, 2010 at 05:38 AM
    Well, when the barn is not much more than a pole shed now days, I can see how they might collapse. "They don't build 'em like they used to" and "You get what you pay for" really applies here doesn't it?
  • by Anonymous on Dec 14, 2010 at 03:38 PM
    a risk they run using a lower snow load rating because they can legally. i built a shop to park trucks in and it had to meet commercial building snow load rating so far so good
  • by Anonymous on Dec 14, 2010 at 07:53 AM
    I find it interesting that most of the barn roofs that collapsed are pretty new, considering most barns out there are 50 years old. Tells you something about engineering from the 50s!
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