June 13, 2001 | By: Haven Miller

If you're considering putting a metal roof on your burley field curing structures you should consider getting plans from the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

"With funding this year from the Farm Income Improvement Foundation that includes reimbursement for metal roofs, producers will need better quality construction for supporting the roof as well as for wind resistance," said George Duncan, UK Extension agricultural engineer. "We've modified and expanded our existing plans to include a good framework for attaching the metal so it will be more durable and provide a structure worth the money."

The Farm Income Improvement Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps farmers solve production problems, has included metal roof covered curing structures as part of this year's tobacco reimbursement grant program. Duncan said it's not mandatory that a farmer follow a particular plan, but whatever the farmer builds will have to meet FIIF requirements to qualify for reimbursement.

"A producer of course doesn't have to use metal, but if they decide to our plans will help them build something high-quality and dependable that better withstand high winds," Duncan said. "The plans we offer will provide a few different options."

One plan features the traditional post-row construction with additional 2x4 rafters and roof purlins for the metal attachment. Heights are shown for hanging the tobacco from a ground position (six-foot rail height) or directly from a low trailer or wagon bed (seven-foot six-inch rail height).

Another plan shows a two-post, two-tier wide framework with options for a two-slope gable type roof, or a one-slope shed type roof. This plan is for hanging the tobacco when standing on the ground.

UK agricultural engineers estimate that metal roof construction will about double the cost of a field curing structure compared with the traditional plastic covered methods. The lowest cost would be for farm-cut posts, sawmill lumber and used metal salvaged from somewhere else.

Buying new materials will likely cost $1,100 to $1,200 per acre of capacity for a structure 200 to 220 feet long. Preservative treated posts are recommended.

For plans and operational guidelines on metal roof field curing structures you should contact your county UK Cooperative Extension office, or the Agricultural Engineering department plan service at 859-257-3000, ext. 111, or download and print copies from the web at: http://www.bae.uky.edu/ext/Program_Areas/Tobacco/equip_facil.htm, then click on the AEU-92 and AEU 88 publications.


George Duncan, 859-257-3000