Comparison of Finishing Pig Performance in a Hoophouse Building vs. a Conventional, Slatted, Curtain-Side Building
"Part of the cost of hog production, especially in the 'snow belt,' is money tied up in overhead costs for hog finishing buildings. New, high-tech buildings are expensive to build and maintain, and are single-function buidlings. There are a lot of small- to medium-sized hog producers that either don't want to or can't afford to build these kind of structures."
Objectives: To compare economic and production differences in deep-bedded hoophouses with conventioanl confinement systems.
Results: Three hoophouses, Quonset-shaped buildings covered with a plastic fabric for roofing and relying on deep bedding for heat, were constructed. Initial comparisons reveal that average daily gains (ADG), feed efficiency (FE) and labor costs slightly favor the conventional system. However, building costs per animal were much lower with the hoophouse, and the alternative structure also reduced odor and tail biting, and increased animal contentment. Health problems were nearly equal in the two structures. Hoophouses also required more intense mangement, especially in the spring and fall when weather changes are more severe.