Rich Hines

By: Rich Hines on July 21st, 2016

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Cattle Housing Design Options: Why Producers Chose Summit Monoslopes

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Once you have made the decision to feed cattle under roof, you have several building designs to choose from. Typically, producers consider three options: gable, hoop, and monoslope buildings. After working with hundreds of producers to provide the right solution for their needs, we hear the same thought processes again and again on why they chose a monoslope instead of one of the other options.

In this post, we’ll share the experiences of other producers and what they discovered in their search for the right solution.


1) improved respiratory health

Better Air Flow Ventilation

“We start with smaller (feeder) calves in the winter, I had cattle health problems due to poor ventilation in my old gable building. I knew better air flow would improve the health of those calves.” - Richard Dickman; Lost Nation, IA

“I looked at the hoop barns, monoslopes and gable barns…The monoslope appeared to have the best ventilation. Very good air movement.” - Bruce Nielsen; Winner, SD

“The ventilation is great in (the Summit monoslope), I think better than in a hoop barn - winter and summer both. It never rains in there, it (the building) doesn’t sweat. And there’s always good ventilation.” - Steve Meyer; Durant, IA


2) reduced stress

Warm & Dry in the Winter; Cool & Breezy in the Summer

“The big advantages we saw in the monoslope were being able to have the winter sun get almost to the back of the pen so we’d get the warmth of the sun in winter. We also really like that in the summertime, when the sun is right above you, you maximize shade. Those were the big deals for us.” - Jon Weitzenkamp; Hooper, NE

“The first time we saw a monoslope facility, we were kind of in awe of the building; it was a day in the mid eighties day and we walking on the north side and it was almost chilly enough you needed a jacket! That piqued our interest. Actually, the next day, my wife and I went back to the building at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. It was in the mid nineties and humid; we wanted to see how the cattle were reacting in the real heat of the day. We walked in and the cattle were comfortable, chewing their cud. With the monoslope building, the cattle were always in shade and even on a still day, there was some air flowing through the building. That’s what sold us.” – Richard Klusmeyer; Mendon, IL

“We evaluated the hoop buildings and others, but when it came down to it, the monoslope was the best alternative for the cost. Moving to a barn with this ventilation, our death loss has dropped considerably. We’re sold on the monoslope concept because of airflow, it keeps (the cattle) in the shade during summer and in the winter it allows the sun to shine in.” – Richard Klusmeyer; Mendon, IL

“During the winter, the sun enters in the building to warm the cattle. As the sun rises in the sky during the warmer months, your cattle get more shade.” - Bruce Nielsen; Winner, SD


3) best value

Quality Design and Materials Maximizes Longevity

“We’ve built a lot of different buildings. We’ve had gable roofs, we’ve never had a hoop barn and the primary reason is we’ve always been concerned about the longevity of a hoop barn. We have a lot of wind here in Nebraska, we’ll get storms and we’re just afraid the hoop won’t last.” ­- Jon Weitzenkamp; Hooper, NE

“I considered hoops barns, wood and steel buildings. We definitely wanted building longevity, something that will be around for quite some time. We have discussed with the children if they have interest or opportunity, and we’ll make every effort to get them into the operation some day.” - Steve Murty; Gladbrook, IA

“Price wise per square foot, there isn’t a lot of difference (from a hoop building) when you get all said and done. You still have to have a base foundation to go up from. Basically, all you’re worrying about is the upper part (of the building) and (a Summit Monoslope) is really not that much more money. Plus, then (with a Summit building) you have a permanent structure; you shouldn’t have the wind issues like you would expect with a tarp covered hoop building.” - Steve Meyer; Durant, IA


Perhaps the merits of the monoslope design were best expressed in the words of our friend, the late Dan Koons of Shirley, Illinois:

“Cattle need fresh air, sunshine, food and water. Our monoslope best facilitates all these requirements.”

This post is the second in a series of 5 on Facility Design for finishing cattle. Stay tuned for the next post on selecting the perfect site for your facility. If you missed the first blog on “Why Feed Cattle Indoors”, click here to check it out!


Ready to learn more about our facilities? Request your FREE Improving Cattle Profits Info Kit Now.

Do you have more questions that are not covered in this article? If you need help designing and planning, please contact Summit Livestock Facilities at 800.213.0567 or click here to email usIf you are ready to get a price, click here to request a quote and a member of our customer engagement team will help you determine the next steps of your project.