Feasibility of Bedded Hoop Barns for Market Beef Cattle in Iowa: Cattle Performance, Bedding Use, and Environment
The objective was to document a bedded hoop barn for feeding market beef cattle. A comparison between a bedded hoop barn (15.2 × 36.6 m) and an open-front feedlot building (11.0 × 61.0 m) was conducted in southwest Iowa. The hoop barn was oriented north-south on a ridge with no windbreak. In summer, temperature was relatively consistent between the structures and ambient conditions, although the north end of the hoop barn had a slightly elevated dew point temperature. A summer temperature-humidity index showed that the hoop barn had fewer hours in "alert" category than either open front or ambient conditions. In winter, a cold stress index showed that the open-front barn provided the most shelter for the cattle with 92% of the hours classified as "no impact," compared with the hoop barn at 77% and ambient at 51%. Both ends of the hoop barn were open, except for piled big round bales for a windbreak during winter. Growth, feed-to-gain, and dry matter intake for the cattle were similar between housing systems. Quality and yield grades were similar. Mud scores may be less for cattle from the bedded hoop barn compared with the open-front feedlot where mud was possible. Labor usage was similar for the hoop barn and the open-front feedlot. Labor occurred throughout the feeding period for the hoop barn because manure cleaning occurred weekly. Bedded hoop barns offer a viable alternative for feeding beef cattle and may reduce feedlot runoff.
This article is from Applied Engineering in Agriculture 24, no. 2 (2008): 251–256.