The two types of pork grow-finish production facilities compared in this study are hoop and total confinement. Results of this study, which was conducted from September 27, 2000 until February 21, 2001 showed profit to be $9.26 per pig greater for the confinement-raised pigs. This study represents the seventh group of pigs finished at the pig research facilities at the Iowa State University Rhodes Research Farm. The profit difference experienced with this group was the largest experienced to date. An important issue with this group was that extreme weather conditions prevented marketing the pigs at optimal times. Neither system’s pigs could be sold at the proper time because of extreme cold and heavy snow. Moreover, the hoop pigs were placed on feed over a three week period but were all sold on the same day (Table 2) causing a wide range in market weight and a disparagement of premiums. Additionally, the weather was more severe during this trial than with any of the previous trials. The daily highs and lows during December 2000 averaged 15 and 12 degrees, respectively, below the 50-year averages for the area. The lower fixed cost advantage of the hoops was offset by the significantly higher variable input needs such as feed and bedding. Results of this group point out the importance of management and weather in determining the profit differences between the two systems. Average daily gain and feed efficiency has constantly been lower for the hoopraised pigs for the winter trials. However, the difference for this trial was much more dramatic. The extreme weather conditions were likely a major contributor. The hoop pigs expended far more energy in keeping warm. This points out the importance of weather in production systems which have limited control on air temperature and flow.
Iowa State University
Larson, Ben; Kliebenstein, James B.; Honeyman, Mark S.; and Penner, Arlie D., "An Economic Analysis of Pork Production in Hoop and Confinement Facilities: A Winter Comparison" (2002). Swine Research Report, 2001. 17.