Three-Year Summary of Performance of Finishing Pigs in Hoop Structures and Confinement during Winter and Summer
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Finishing pigs were fed for 3 years in bedded hoop structures and a confinement building with slotted floors in central Iowa. When summer and winter feeding periods for 3 years were combined, the trials showed that the finishing pigs in hoops ate 4.9% more feed, grew 1.7% faster, and required 3.4% more feed per unit of liveweight gain than confinement pigs. The mortality rate was similar and percentage of culled and light pigs was higher for hoops compared with confinement. Also, the hoop pigs had 4.9% thicker backfat with 4.8% smaller loin muscle area and 1 percentage unit less of carcass lean and carcass yield compared with confinement pigs. The efficiency of lean gain was also poorer for the hoop pigs. The hoop pigs required 6.8% more feed per unit of lean gain. Because the hoops are unheated structures, there were seasonal effects. The hoop pigs ate more feed, particularly in the winter, grew faster in the summer, and were less efficient in the winter than the confinement pigs. The hoop pigs had thicker backfat in the summer only and were less efficient in converting feed to lean in the winter only. The hoop pigs had a greater incidence of roundworm infestations. 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 237 lb/pig on a year-round basis. Approximately 204 lb of bedding per pig was used in summer and approximately 270 lb of bedding per pig was used in winter.