Can it be that Elsie the Cow or Ferdinand the Bull is so different from you or me, preferring to be protected from the elements when dining? 

It turns out not so much.

Cows Eating - 2.jpg Iowa Farmer Today addressed that question head-on in a September 7 article, noting how extremes in weather are pushing some cattle producers to erect roofing systems to protect their cows and bulls from wild temperature swings and increasing inclement weather events. 

Called “cattle confined feeding” in Ag parlance, cattle raised for market in confined spaces has already shown demonstrative increases in consumption, according to Dr. Robert Bryant, a veterinarian and cattleman living in rural northwest Iowa.

Bryant founded an enterprise company, Hoop Beef Systems, which is essentially a ‘kit-in-a-box’ cattle farm — albeit a mighty big box. 

The company delivers the disparate elements needed for a working farm: land and cattle not included. What you get, though, has buildings, bunks, waterers, gates, blueprints, construction advice, nutrition advice on ethanol co-product usage, and consulting on your operational set-up. 

A 2015 profile of Bryant and his company in American Cattlemen touts myriad benefits to the heifers and bulls, including “…No Bruised Hooves; Hair Coats Always Dry; No Summer Sun,” and more. A company consultant summed it up best, telling the reporter, “We are helping build a cattle hotel!”

Cows Eating-A - 1.jpg

Package prices on the company’s website were conspicuously absent, but each building measures 36 feet wide with a 4-foot awning over the feed bunk. In terms of length, how many heifers are coming to dine? The company says each head of cattle is a running foot, so 100 Jerseys would net you a 3,600-square-foot building with a greenhouse roof system using polyethylene film, polycarbonate sheets or fiberglass panels.

The lack of pricing is most certainly by design because everyone knows eating at a hotel is always expensive. However, as Bryant noted, if you are in the business of raising cattle, where size matters, he says indoor systems, whether his or not, are more efficient with good long-term economic benefits.

“If you compared an animal under roof versus an outside lot, you’re looking about a 12%-15% improvement in feed efficiency and rate of gain,” he said in a news release published in Drovers, an Ag trade publication.

While the trend toward covered cattle feeding facilities may not be roofing’s next ‘big thing,’ it goes to show that a roof over one’s head is axiomatically a necessity, be it a bovine or a bro. 

Want to hang up your harness for a lasso? Check out Hoop Beef Systems HERE.