Conference on Raising Livestock in Hoops Set for Sept. 14

July 9th, 2004

A conference focusing on using hoop barns and bedded systems for producing livestock will take place Sept. 14, organized by Iowa State University.

Hoop buildings originally gained attention for pork production because of their low-capital cost, competitive returns and flexibility. Recent innovations have expanded hoop production beyond its initial focus on swine finishing to providing shelter for sows and piglets, dairy and beef cattle and other animal species.

Iowa State researchers have been studying hoops for livestock production for nine years. They have researched such areas as production costs, odor issues, the behavior of animals and composting the bedding and manure from hoops.

At the conference, participants will have the opportunity to step inside a virtual hoop structure developed at Iowa State as a tool for housing design. Speakers from Australia, Canada, England, The Netherlands and Ukraine will share how hoops and bedded systems are used in those countries.

Other sessions will cover animal welfare, process-verified or niche market livestock production using hoop structures and other bedded systems (the complete agenda follows this release).

The conference will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Gateway Center, located at U.S. Highway 30 and Elwood Drive in Ames.

The cost of the conference is $25 before Sept. 1 and $35 after that date. The registration fee includes lunch, breaks, all sessions, access to the virtual reality display, exhibits and a CD and printed copy of the Hoop Barn Manual, produced by Midwest Plan Service.

Those wishing to register will find a form at the conference web site at: or can contact Beth Weiser at (515) 294-0557 or


Editor's note: Media wishing to send reporters for any or all of the conference sessions may do so free of charge. Please contact Ed Adcock, (515) 294-2314 or, with information on who will be attending.

Conference agenda
7:30 a.m.—Registration
8:45 a.m.—Introductions
9 a.m.—Opening session
-Context, History and Perspectives on Hoops
-Market Attributes
-Animal Behavior
10:45 a.m.—Breakout session 1
* Deep-bedded systems for dairy and other livestock
* Marketing swine from deep-bedded systems: Value chains and niche marketing
* Deep-bedded systems for sows and piglets
* Animal welfare
Noon—Lunch. Speakers from Australia, Canada, England, The Netherlands and Ukraine will share how hoops are used in their countries.
1:30 p.m.—Breakout session 2
* Interfacing hoops with conventional systems
* Design and remodeling of bedded systems
* Pork quality
* Animal health issues
3 p.m.—Breakout session 3
* Process verified systems
* Manure, bedding and air quality management
* Making it pay: Production costs for bedded livestock operations
4:15 p.m.—Closing coffee with vendors
5 p.m.—Adjourn


Tom Richard, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, (515) 294-0465,
Mark Honeyman, Animal Science, (515) 294-4621,
Ed Adcock, Communications Service, (515) 294-2314,