Cost To Build A Calving Shed Shelter

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Calving Shed?

Researching the cost to build a calving shed? Wondering how much concrete panels cost? Are canopies cost-effective?

Calving sheds and shelters have grown in popularity in recent years and are becoming essential infrastructure for dairy farms.

A well-designed calving shelter will provide shelter from the weather and help create a low-stress environment for your cows. In turn, this improves calf performance, allowing them to survive and thrive.

As well as the improved animal performance, many of the benefits that a calving shelter provides also align with industry and consumer focus to prioritise cow comfort and animal welfare.

In other words, investing in a calving shed or shelter can make sense financially and fulfil a social responsibility.

If you are planning a calving shelter project in 2023, then you might be wondering about prices.

How much does it actually cost to build a calving shed?

To help you budget for your build we’ve compiled a price guide.

In this guide, you’ll find 2023 calving shed prices and cost-effective configurations and design options.

We also discuss the factors that influence the price of a calving shelter and ways you could save money on your project – and other project ideas!

We hope this price guide is a helpful starting point for your project planning!

Cost To Build A Calving Shed

How Much Does It Cost to Build A Calving Shed?

The average cost of a calving shed project is approx. $170,000 including GST and installation. 

Keep in mind, this price does cover quite a range of different size projects and different designs and configurations 

For a better idea of how costs can vary between projects, view the list of popular calving shed sizes and designs below.

Calving Shed Sizes & Price List

Here are some of the calving shed and shelter sizes and configurations that have been popular.

Please note that these price ranges are estimates only and do not include the cost of concrete panels (more on this later).

  • A 24m x 12m x 5m three-sided calving shed costs approx. $40,000 – $65,000 including GST, footing concrete and installation.
  • A 40m x 21m x 5m three-sided calving shed costs approx. $120,000 – $150,000 including GST, footing concrete and installation.
  • A 59.5m x 24m x 5m three-sided calving shed with a 6-metre canopy costs approx. $225,000 – $270,000 including GST, footing concrete and installation.
  • A 32m x 24m x 5m two-sided calving shed costs approx. $100,000 – $130,000 including GST, footing concrete and installation.
  • A 50m x 27m x 5m two-sided calving shed with a 5-metre canopy costs approx. $240,000 – $295,000 including GST, footing concrete and installation.
  • A 51m x 30m x 5m two-sided calving shed costs approx. $210,000- $260,000 including GST, footing concrete and installation.

So that’s an overview of calving shed prices. Keep reading to learn about the cost of concrete panels and the cost to include a canopy on your project. 

27 metre span calving shed at Bungador

How Much Will The Concrete Panels Cost For My Calving Shed?

The price for popular concrete panel sizes (approx. 1.5m high) is approx. $500 per lineal metre. 

As an example, 1.5m metre concrete panels on one side and one end wall of a 50m x 27m x 5m calving shed would cost approx. $36,000 including GST and installation.

 You can learn more about concrete panel prices and what influences the cost in this article – How Much Do Concrete Panels For Sheds Cost?

How Much Would It Cost To Include A Canopy?

Considering including a canopy on your project?

Canopies are very popular additions to hay sheds, machinery sheds and calving sheds.

This is because they have many benefits including providing additional weather protection. 

Canopies are also a cost-effective way to increase the overall size of your shed.

So, how much do they cost?

The cost of adding a canopy to your shed design does depend on factors like the size of the shed and the canopy.

But generally, you can expect to pay between $100 and $150 per square metre.

For example, on a 48m x 21m x 6m calving shed a 6-metre canopy would cost approx. $38,000 including GST and installation.

You can learn more about canopy prices and cost-effective sizes, here – How Much Does It Cost To Build A Shed Canopy?

Next up we discuss the different factors that influence the cost of a calving shed project.

Factors That Influence The Cost Of A Calving Shed

When budgeting for a project like a calving shed, it is a good idea to get an understanding of the different factors that impact the prices.

There are four main factors to be aware of. These are size, configuration, materials and design features. 

1. Shed Size

Like any shed project, the size of your calving shelter will directly impact the price.

This is because the bigger the shed, the more labour and materials such as cladding and concrete panels are required to complete the project. And vice versa.

Large-scale calving sheds may also require additional features such as ridge vents. And depending on the classification of the building, a large calving shelter may also require fire services. Both of which will increase the overall project price. 

Some shed sizes are more cost-effective than others though, and we’ll discuss the potential cost savings for you further on in this article.

2. Shed Configuration

The shed configuration also influences how much your calving shelter costs. 

The best practice calving shed design and configuration is a two-sided or three-sided shed with concrete panels and a canopy.

However, this is not necessarily the least expensive option. 

Generally, a roof-only calving shed design is the least expensive configuration as no concrete panels or wall cladding is required. We would usually recommend installing gable infills and partially clad walls or even a canopy though, to provide protection from the prevailing weather. 

3. Materials

You can’t build a calving shed without materials!

As a result, the cost of materials is one of the main contributors to the price of a calving shed. 

The main material costs to consider are the cost of the structural steel, cladding, corrosion protection and concrete panels. 

Structural Steel

Firstly, our sheds are manufactured from Australian-made steel including heavy-duty UB columns and open web trusses. 

2023 Steel Prices

And while steel prices are lower post-Covid, Australian-made steel typically costs more than imported steel. (You can learn about 2023 steel prices, here.)

Keep in mind though, that Australian-made steel is the highest quality steel available due to the high standards and quality control in place in Australian manufacturing.

Similarly, the cladding on our shed builds is also Australian-made.


The three cladding options we offer are zinc cladding, galvanised cladding and Colorbond cladding. Zinc cladding is the most cost-effective and is used for most of the farm sheds we build.

However, for you calving shelter project, it may be a good idea to pay more for the galvanised cladding or Colorbond cladding options, as dairies are typically a highly corrosive environment. 

On that point, corrosion protection is incredibly important for dairy sheds and calf shelters. And the best way to keep your shed rust-free is to hot dip galvanise the frame.

Corrosion Protection

While hot dip galvanising is by far the most effective steel coating, it is also the most expensive, having a much higher initial cost compared to alternatives like paint or pre-galvanizing. 

And, because our sheds are fully hot dip galvanized after manufacture, you can expect to pay more for an Action Steel shed than a shed with a paint or pre-galv coating.

Having said that, hot dip galvanising has the lowest long-term cost. And we don’t recommend compromising on corrosion protection!

Concrete Panels

The other material cost to keep in mind is the cost of the concrete panels. Concrete panels also help protect your shed from corrosion and make cleaning out the shelter quicker and easier. 

While concrete panels aren’t a “cheap” addition to your project, Action Steel operates a pre-cast concrete manufacturing plant. This allows us to provide our customers with quality and cost-effective concrete panels for their sheds. 

4. Design Features

And finally, the design features you choose to customise your calving shed will also impact the prices. 

Inclusions such as ridge vents, sliding doors and skylights will all add to the overall project cost. 

However, it is important to remember that these features will make the shelter more functional, and the benefits they provide will usually outweigh the cost. 

And in some cases, they can be cost-saving! For example, installing skylights is a great way to take advantage of the available natural light and reduce your electricity costs. 

How To Save Money On Your Calving Shed Project

If you are working to a budget, or if you are wanting to get the best value for your money, you might be wondering about how to save money on your project.

Here are some potential cost savings for calving sheds that don’t compromise on quality.

cost to build a farm shed - farm shed prices

1. Choose The Right Shed Builder

Choosing the shed builder that is the right fit for your project can go a long way towards reducing project costs – and alleviating stress!

We would recommend building your shed with a company that can look after the complete project. 

For example, here at Action Steel, we don’t just manufacture the steelwork for your calving shed or shelter.

Instead, we also apply for the required council permits, coordinate the erection stage and project manage your shed from initial sign-up to completion. 

And we can manufacture the concrete panels.

Working with a shed builder that also manufactures concrete panels can often be a significant cost saving. This is because other shed manufacturers will engage a third party to manufacture the panels and then add a margin to the price.

With Action Steel managing all these steps, it means building a calving shed becomes a much less stressful and time-consuming experience for you. And time is money!

2. Choose A Standard Size

Another way to reduce costs on your calving shed – which we recommend for all farm shed builds – is choosing a standard size span. 

Some span sizes are more cost-effective than others. This is because we work with a range of standard-size spans that are both practical and cost-effective. 

Choosing a standard size span for your shed can provide a cost saving as a truss jig does not have to be set up specifically for your project. This saves both time and money in the drafting and manufacturing stages.

So, where possible we would recommend choosing a standard span for your project. But we do understand that these sizes won’t work in every situation. 

3. Choose A Cost-Effective Configuration

As we have already mentioned, a roof-only shed is typically more cost-effective than a two-sided or three-sided configuration. 

While choosing a roof-only calving shed is a cost-saving, the downside is that you are sacrificing some of the weather protection that the other configurations provide.

Instead, it may be better to consider building a longer calving shelter with a narrower span. This typically works out to be more cost-effective per square metre than a wider, shorter shed. 

4. Complete Your Project In Stages

While not necessarily a cost saving in the long run, if you are limited by cash flow or you aren’t sure of your future requirements, you could build your calving shed project in several stages.

For example, you could build a roof-only shed now and then install cladding and retrofit a canopy and concrete panels in the future.

If you do choose this option, speak to our building consultants so they can ensure that the shed design is engineered for a future canopy addition. We can also add cleats during manufacture so that the shed can be easily clad in the future. 

That’s a wrap on calving shed prices! 

Browse the gallery below for ideas for your project.

Calving Shed Project Ideas 

We hope this article has helped you understand the cost to build a calving shed.

For more articles like this, browse our Learning Hub. Or for an accurate, obligation-free quote, give us a call or send us a message – we would be happy to help!

Disclaimer: The prices included in this article are approximate only and are subject to change. They are intended only as a budgeting tool. For a more accurate costing, please request a formal quote.

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