Two Year Summary of the Performance of Finishing Pigs in Hoop Structures and Confinement During Winter and Summer
Finishing pigs were fed for two years in bedded hoop structures and a confinement building with slotted floors in central Iowa. When summer and winter feeding periods for two years were combined, the trials showed that the finishing pigs in hoops ate more feed, grew faster, and required more feed per unit of liveweight gain than confinement pigs. The mortality rate was similar and percentage of culls was higher for hoops compared with confinement. Also, the hoop pigs were fatter with smaller loin muscle area and a lower percentage of carcass lean and carcass yield compared with confinement pigs. The efficiency of lean gain was also poorer for the hoop pigs.
Because the hoops are cold structures, there were seasonal effects. The hoop pigs ate more feed, particularly in the winter, grew faster in the summer, and were less efficient particularly in the winter than the confinement pigs. The hoop pigs were fatter in the summer only and less efficient in converting feed to lean in the winter only. Also the hoop pigs had a greater incidence of roundworm infestations particularly in the later trials, in spite of a thorough deworming regimen.
Therefore, hoop pigs may need to be fed diets somewhat differently than the diets fed to confinement pigs to optimize lean growth, and the control of internal parasites in hoop pigs may need to be more aggressive than in confinement. Bedding use was approximately 220 lb per pig on a year round basis. Approximately 204 lb of bedding was used in summer and approximately 236 lb of bedding was used in winter.