Hoop Farrowing/Finishing of Swine

Tom Miller, Project Planning Specialist-Agriculture, Southeast Iowa


The capital requirements facing producers wishing to enter the swine industry as farrow-to-finish producers or even as grow-finish producers has become a limiting factor in new producers joining the swine industry. Production units have become larger to offset lower per head profits.

Some segments of society have questioned if modern day pork production has become inhumane in the treatment of animals. They wonder if we could cost effectively return to a more traditional approach of rearing pigs, allowing them to express natural behaviors such as rooting and nesting.


The National Pork Board financed a project to study hoop building farrow-finish production of pigs. This study will help determine if it is economically feasible to produce pigs in a deep-bedded open air environment. Iowa State University Extension partnered with NPB in managing and cooperating in the project.


a- Producers have had mixed results from first winter farrowing. One producer weaned over a 8 pig average with the other producer weaning a 6.5 average. Cost of producing weaned pig appeared to be higher.
b- Finishing pig costs tend to be in line with industry standards.

a- Many potential swine producers have asked for further details about this type of system. They would like to have an alternative from building a "custom feeding" building but need some type of income producing stream to supplement the cropping operation of their farm.
b- Niman Ranch and other "welfare standards" type meat retailers have endorsed the concept and would like to see it expanded.


March 18, 2005
108 - Iowa Pork Industry Center, 3rd (April - June)

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu