Cattle Performance and Comfort In Different Types of Housing Systems

monoslope beef barnThese presentations were recorded at the Beef Facilities Conference and focused on cattle comfort and performance with four different barns. The accompanying papers are in pages 27-37 of the written proceedings.

Comparing Open Lot, Partially Covered, and Monoslope (Completely Covered) Systems

Robbi Pritchard, South Dakota State University (SDSU)

When SDSU rebuilt their cattle feeding facilities, the decision was made to compare three different systems: 

  • earthen lots with no overhead roof
  • lots that are partially roofed
  • a monoslope bedded barn in which the entire facility is covered

The feedlot manager tracked feed deliveries, cattle performance, carcass characteristics, and labor inputs for each system for two years. The results of that are presented in the video to the right.

Comparing Hoop Buildings and a Semi-Confinement Facility for Beef Cattle Production

Dan Loy and Shawn Shouse, Iowa State University

The design of beef facilities have evolved over time. The presenters review changes they have seen as the use of both types of facilities has increased. Research data from a University farm compared animal performance, carcass characteristics, feed conversion, and mud score.

Lastly, the presenters discussed the effect of pen density on cattle fed in bedded hoop barns.

Use of Rubber Mats in Slatted-Floor Buildings

Russ Euken, Iowa State University

Rubber mats represent a significant investment. This presentation examines research into animal performance and behavioral indicators of animal comfort when using rubber mats versus uncovered concrete slatted floors. Some of the research cited also compared to bedded systems.

Related: Virtual tour of a slatted floor beef barn with rubber mats


This page was developed as a part of the Mono-Slope Air Quality Research project funded by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2010-85112-20510 awarded to South Dakota State University, USDA ARS U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Iowa State University, and University of Nebraska – Lincoln from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information about the research study, contact Erin Cortus or Mindy Spiehs For more about the outreach and extension, contact Beth Doran project partner logos - South Dakota State University, USDA-ARS, Iowa State University, and University of Nebraska - Lincoln