We've been raising cattle now for 10 years now or more. We have a 140 cow calve heard and we just finish out our own calves. We just use open lots with a barn on them to do so, but have been looking in to putting up a hoop building and either putting our own calves in it or buying more caves to finish out and putting them in it. Any one have any experince with finishing out caves in a hoop building? Is a building for livestock different then a hoop building for storage, if so how? Also we use self feeders so we would like to stay with that method as well and dont know how that would work.
I don't have personal experience, but was exposed to several hoop buildings when I was selling feed. Hoop buildings for finishing cattle are different than those for storage. The buildings I have seen have bunks on 1 side and gates on the backside. Buildings are much more labor intensive due to the increased management when it comes to bedding. Most buildings I have seen have at least 3 pens with automatic waters between each pen. The cattle are typically bedded every week to 10 days. The cattle are moved to holding pens outside the building, while the old bedding is removed and new bedding (typically stock bales) is put in.
My biggest concern (again, my personal opinion), would be wanting to continue the use of self feeders. I would think they would be very hard to manage in a confined setting. Typically, the big selling point for the building is the consistent performance of the cattle due to the controlled environment. Whether it is a background or finishing facility, the cattle's feed efficiency improves due to the controlled environment. Therefore, the producers I worked with, could focus more on cost of gain and maximize their feed resources while eliminating waste. Every barn I had been around was using a TMR ration and fed at least once a day, most of the time twice. Therefore, I haven't had any experience with self feeders in a building setting. My personal opinion is the cattle aren't going to perform a hell of a lot different in a hoop building compared to an open lot setting if they are fed on a self feeder.
Just my thoughts. Take them for what they are worth! Good luck in whatever you decide and keep us posted.
We used to feed all our cattle in outside lots also. Each lot had a self feeder we filled with corn twice a week depending on how many cattle were in the pen. Two years ago we built a finishing barn and still wanted to continue self feeding. We weren't sure how it would work but turns out it has worked great. We placed feed bunks along one side of the barn, and fill them just as we did the self feeders but in a bunk. Our barn roof over hangs the bunks Just drive along the side of the bunk with the feed grinder and dump it in, depending on the number of head, we fill the bunks 3-4 times a week. Like I said we fed cattle in open lots for many many years and now that we built this barn wish we had two more just like it. Theres no comparison to the feed efficiency we've gained, also all the nutrients we can capture and put back on the field. I'm from southern michigan and winters here can be brutal on cattle, rain, snow, ice, warm one day cold the next, no place for them to go. Takes all there energy to maintain. Also in the summer there out of the sun. Don't know to much about hoop barns though, some that i've seen look like they'd do a good job. My concern with a hoop barn is twenty years from now when the canvas needs replaced is the company still going to be in business? That's my two cents. I can send you some pics if you'd like.
Please do send me some pics I would love to see them my e-mail is email@example.com if you want to do it that way thanks.
I'll get them to you soon as i can.