EXCHANGE: Farmer puts future on display in hoop barn

What may be the future of the cattle industry in Illinois was on display on Aug. 8 near Camp Point.

Jacob Schmidt keeps cattle in a hoop barn designed for calving, backgrounding and finishing — a system providing benefits for the cattle, the farmer and the environment.

“I really think the future of the cattle industry is moving to these buildings,” Schmidt said. “We are seeing better efficiency in the cow herd in the hoop barn. The cows are very gentle and comfortable and don’t burn energy to find food and water.”

Unlike keeping cows outside in dry lots and wooded areas, the hoop barn helps Schmidt improve feed efficiency, provide a better environment for calving, better utilize manure which saves money on fertilizer and raise more cows on fewer acres.

“It’s harder and harder to find pasture as we look at growing beef and growing beef numbers, so this makes a lot of sense,” said Tim Maiers, who helped plan an open house at the barn coordinated by the Illinois Livestock Development Group. “There’s a lot of opportunity for Illinois specifically and the Midwest in this type of system. We have the feedstuffs, we have land to put the manure on, we’ve got good quality cattle here, especially in this area, so there’s a lot of positives.”

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