Comparison of Housing Systems for Finishing Beef Cattle
Housing systems for finishing beef cattle is a topic of increased interest in the upper Midwest. Several factors have contributed to this including interest in improving animal comfort and performance with recent weather variability and increased scrutiny by regulatory agencies on runoff control in small and medium sized open lot facilities. Deep bedded housing systems have become increasingly popular over the last 10 years. Honeyman and Harmon (2011) estimated that by the end of 2011, there existed 466,000 head of capacity in Iowa of deep bedded finished cattle housing. Considerable construction of new facilities has occurred since that report and interest has increased in slotted floor confinement facilities due to improved nutrient and value retention in the manure and decreased bedding costs. This presentation will review expected differences among facility types in animal comfort and performance, key operational issues including construction and operating costs, environmental management and manure value.