Floor Space

Although proportional to construction costs, floor space impacts animal performance and health, as well as environmental quality. During the surge in beef housing in the mid-1970s, a minimum floor space of 1.8 m2/500 kg was recommended. However, this animal spacing did not support optimal performance, and many of those barns were abandoned. Current recommendations are 2.5 to 3 m2/head,[11] but even with this amount of space, producers report reduced performance compared to outdoor penned animals (under ideal conditions). Floor space can be effectively and efficiently increased by extending pens beyond the structure, giving cattle shelter during inclement periods, while protecting the feed line.[6] The primary drawback is the need to provide two types of manure management to handle material within the shelter, and to control precipitation runoff generated from outdoor areas.

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