Performance of Pigs in Hoop Structures and Confinement during Summer with a Wean-to-Finish System
Four groups of early-weaned pigs (19 days of age) were delivered in late May and early June 1998 to the Hoop Research Complex (HRC) at the ISU Rhodes Research Farm. Three groups of pigs (n=552) were placed in three (30 ft × 60 ft) deepbedded hoop structures. The fourth group (n=159) was placed in six pens in a mechanically ventilated modular confinement building. On June 30, 1998, phase I of the experiment was over and pigs entered phase II. At the phase change, all pigs from each group were weighed and the number (n=711) of pigs was reduced (n=582) to allow the proper square footage per pig during the grow-finishing phase of the trial. In phase II, there were three groups of hoop pigs (n=451) and one group of confinement pigs (n=132). The four groups of pigs were returned to their original buildings with no mixing of pigs. The pigs were marketed in October and November. The hoop pigs ate the same amount of feed per day (P>.10), grew faster (P<.02), and were more efficient (P<.02) than the confinement pigs. By starting early-weaned pigs in hoops, wean-to-finish production may be an acceptable strategy for maintaining pig performance, without the moving and remixing done on many farms. Also, because of fewer turns of a wean-to-finish system, the lower cost hoop may be advantageous compared with higher-cost structures.