What are Hoop Structures?

By: Elizabeth Horsfall

Posted on: 2016-11-07

At present, hog raising is becoming more and more capital intensive considering all the costs and expenses associated with the industry – there’s labour to be hired, feeds and water and even veterinary and medical necessities. When it comes to the initial costs though, housing structures for the pigs can take up a huge chunk of your capital. However, there are ways to reduce the building costs, one of which is by going for hoop structures instead of the traditional pig shelters or barns. For many small scale hog raisers working with very limited capital, hoop structures provide a great and cost-effective alternative, and such structures are growing more and more popular around the world.

Hoop structures can be used in different phases of hog raising – from growing to finishing. They are built with wooden sidewalls for the most part, with the tubular steel frames attached to them. A tarp is then stretched over the frames to form the roof. They also have dirt floors instead of concrete, though concrete is used in the making of slabs dedicated for feeding and watering. The dirt floor is covered with organic materials, preferably straw or corn stalks. These type of building structure is pretty similar in many cases to other types of hoop structures like cattle shade structures and the likes.

In order to ensure that the hoop structure will be strong and reliable, you’ll want to make sure that you use quality materials in the construction. For example, you’ll want to use treated wood for the sidewalls and the posts in order prevent termites and other wood-boring insects from penetrating and eating away at the wood. As to the tarp, you want to make use of polyvinyl and UV resistant tarps to ensure better protection and longer service life. More often than not, the tarps to be used in hoop structures should be stronger compared to the ones used as hay tarps and other common shelter covers. All in all, your tarp will be hugely responsible in protecting the pigs from outside elements, so spending a bit more on high quality tarps from reputable manufacturers is something worth considering.