Suppose you could use a windbreak where there are too few trees, or too few of them with enough altitude. Bob Schultheis, a University of Missouri Extension natural resource engineering specialist, offers these points for consideration:

  • A solid fence provides wind protection for only a short distance downwind, whereas a fence that is only 80% solid reduces wind speed for a greater distance. It also tends to spread out snow drifts for faster melting.

    “For example, a 10-ft.-high, slatted windbreak fence on a ridge that's 4 ft. high can protect a feedlot that is 200 ft. wide, if the lot slopes away from the windbreak at 6-8%,” Schultheis says. In this example, he explains the fence slats could be 1 in. X 8 in., spaced 1.75 in. apart, or 1 in. X 10 in. spaced 2 in. apart.

  • When positioning windbreaks, locate buildings, feedlots and equipment within the area of wind protection but beyond the snow-catch zone.

    Schultheis explains long open sheds (those three times longer than wide) are especially vulnerable to snow drifting and cold drafts. To reduce blow-in, Schultheis suggests partitions placed every 50 ft. inside the shed, as well as providing a “swirl chamber of 16-20 ft. sq. at the southwest corner of buildings that are open to the south.