Blog > June 2018 > Hoop Barns for Cattle

Hoop Barns for Cattle

June 25, 2018

Finishing out cattle in an enclosed structure is growing more popular each year. Slatted, bed pack and hoop barns are the most common types seen around the state. When it comes to building a hoop barn, the advantages and disadvantages of confinement housing should be considered in relation to traditional outdoor facilities. Animal density, manure handling, feeding, animal handling, ventilation, and cost are a few of the factors to consider. Hoop barns avoid some pollution control issues while providing a suitable environment for the cattle. The roofed structure reduces runoff and allows for better control of manure.
The construction process of a hoop barn consists of attaching steel arches to wood or concrete sidewalls. A polyethylene/PVC fabric tarp is placed over the steel frame to form the roof. These tarps are designed to reflect solar radiation, which provides a cooler temperature in the barn during the summer months and reduces heat stress on the cattle. To also help keep the temperature down, the west wall of the building is generally enclosed to prevent the afternoon sun from penetrating into the building. Feed bunks are placed on the outside perimeter of the building to eliminate the need to drive through the barn when feeding. An overhang is placed over the bunks to prevent rainwater from entering the bunk. Depending on the size of the hoop structure, a ridge vent is placed in the roof to provide better airflow, reduce humidity, and remove excess heat.
When comparing a bedded hoop building to a standard open lot, the initial cost of a hoop building is $400-$500 per head, while an outdoor lot is $175-$250 per head. The space per head in a hoop structure is 40 sq. ft. and 250-500 sq. ft. in an open lot. As for manure control, the manure in a hoop barn remains in the building until removed by equipment. In an outdoor lot, the manure runs out of the pens to storage basins. The environment in both the hoop barn and outdoor lot have similar temperatures, but cattle in a hoop barn are protected from rain, snow, and wind. Additionally, the performance of cattle finished in hoop barns is more consistent. Cattle can show up to 3-4% improved ADG compared to those in an outside lot, whose performance often varies by season and the condition of the lot.
Overall, investing in a hoop barn requires close consideration of several factors. There are advantages as well as disadvantages when it comes to finishing cattle in an enclosed building. For more information on hoop buildings, contact your local Central Valley Ag Feed Sales Specialist.
 By Cassidy Curtis
Posted: 6/25/2018 8:26:40 PM by Kelli Reznicek | with 0 comments

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