Hoop Buildings: Potential of Increasing Profits Through Better Management

Terry Steinhart, swine field specialist

Situation

According to a recent survey conducted by Mark Honeyman, associate professor in animal science at Iowa State University, as reported in the 2001 Iowa State University Swine Research Report, estimates that there are 2,100 hoop structures used for swine production in Iowa. Approximately 90 percent of the hoops are used for feeding market pigs and the remaining 10 percent are used for housing gestating sows. It was estimated there were 768 producers in Iowa with hoops for swine. Approximately 50 percent of the producers use composting of manure and 40 percent compost swine mortalities.

There is potential for over-application of nutrients in composted swine manure, because the nutrients are concentrated as the manure/biomass is composted. In many cases, these producers are not large enough to require a manure nutrient management plan, thus the need for educational demonstrations, discussion groups, and educational programs.

Response

One meeting was held in cooperation with Nieman Ranch. The purpose of this meeting was to show producers that there is potential of increasing profits through better management of hoop buildings, and finding markets that fit the hoop style of management.
One meeting was also held as a problem solving round table discussion group.
The other strategy is an IDALS grant to study the effect of hoop manure on corn yields.

Impact

At one round table discussion we had 12 producers attend and at the Nieman Ranch program there were 15 producers. The hoop manure/corn yield study involves two producers. Results from that study will be available this fall after corn harvest. One producer stated that they would participate in the Nieman Ranch marketing. He said that he believed he could increase profits by $2,500 per year. One producer stated that by developing a sorting system he could save up to two hours each time he sorted pigs. Another producer, who didn't have any hoops, was convinced that he could save in building cost over a conventional building and have a more sustainable farm by recycling his corn stalks and utilizing the composted swine manure.

Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu