Beef Cattle Feeding in a Deep Bedded Hoop Barn: A Preliminary Report

  • Mark S. Honeyman (Iowa State University)
  • Jay D. Harmon (Iowa State University)
  • Shawn C. Shouse (Iowa State University)
  • Darrell Busby (Iowa State University)
  • Dallas L. Maxwell (Iowa State University)


There is growing concern about more intensive runoff and environmental regulations for open beef cattle feedlots, particularly in the higher rainfall cattle feeding states like Iowa. A low-cost, versatile bedded hoop barn for feeding cattle may be a possible solution to this situation. The objective of this study is to quantify the environment in a bedded hoop used for finishing beef cattle and to compare beef cattle performance in hoops to conventional open feedlots.

In order to compare bedded hoop barns to outside feedlots for beef cattle feeding, a hoop barn (50 x 120 ft) is being constructed at the ISU Armstrong Research Farm, Lewis, IA that will house 120 head of steers in three pens with approximately 50 square feet per animal. The hoop barn will have a fenceline feedbunk with concrete apron and scrape alley. The remaining floor will use crushed rock over geotextile fabric. Cornstalk bedding will be used to facilitate solid manure handling. Manure will be composted during the summer and winter months for land application in spring and fall. The hoop system will be compared with an outside feedlot with shed, under common management. Data will be collected and summarized on the following items: facility cost, feed intake, feed efficiency, cost of gain, daily gain, bedding use, manure output, and labor requirement. The project is being conducted in western Iowa, an area with many outside beef cattle feedlots.

Design features and decisions included: a north-south orientation, 10 ft sidewalls, a fenceline bunk along the east edge of the hoop, a fabric covered overhang to shelter the fenceline bunk, three equal pens, a continuous open ridge vent, concrete paving along the bunks and for the scrape alley, and a curtain to close the west wall and north wall if needed.

Results of this study will be ongoing, beginning in 2005.

Keywords: Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Animal Science

How to Cite:

Honeyman, M. S., Harmon, J. D., Shouse, S. C., Busby, D. & Maxwell, D. L., (2005) “Beef Cattle Feeding in a Deep Bedded Hoop Barn: A Preliminary Report”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 2(1). doi:

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Published on
01 Jan 2005
Peer Reviewed