A team of pork industry professionals, working on behalf of National Hog Farmer readers, spent two days at World Pork Expo evaluating a vast array of 62 new products and services introduced to the U.S. pork industry in the past year. They selected 10 products for recognition during their tour.
The new product panel included:
Kathy Chinn, an 1,800-sow producer from Clarence, MO. She serves as the chairman of the National Pork Board's Animal Welfare Committee.
Arlin Karsten, DVM, assistant professor of animal science and swine enterprise manager at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA. Karsten is a veterinarian and oversees swine demonstration projects conducted at the college.
Steve Pohl, associate professor of agricultural engineering in the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department at South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD. His research focuses on environmental concerns impacting the pork industry.
Jerry Torrison, a veterinarian practicing at the Swine Vet Center in St. Peter, MN. Torrison has extensive swine industry experience dealing with pork production operations of various sizes.
Panel members, recognizing that not every product would work for every pork production operation, felt the variety of products on display at the 2002 event could benefit both pork producers and their neighbors.
“As both a pork producer and the chairman of the National Pork Board's Animal Welfare Committee, it is always at the front of my mind what kinds of products are going to address animal welfare issues,” Chinn explained. “At the same time, we need to stay focused on economical technology that is going to help us be better producers and help us stay in the business for the long haul. I think the products at World Pork Expo did a good job of presenting sensible possibilities for addressing the concerns that are pushing more demands on producers.”
The many companies from around the world gave the trade show a greater international presence, panelists agreed.
Pohl found the new products to be well presented and, on the whole, quite carefully thought out. “With the sophistication level of the pork industry, we need to realize the bar has been raised pretty high for new products now,” he said.
Torrison was excited to see exhibitors addressing food safety issues and the social aspects of pork production, such as odor control technology. “It's encouraging to see new products being introduced in our industry that seem to offer decent solutions to some pretty intractable problems.”
Karsten agreed. “It hit home for me that many of these products and many of the practices producers are implementing are in direct response to consumer demands instead of simply focusing only on low-cost production issues. We are seeing options for lowering antibiotic use and improving environmental quality.”
Take a few minutes to benefit from the panel's time, experience, and the thoughtful discussion that took place as panelists reviewed their choices of “most promising” products. Products are listed in no particular order.
If you would like more information about any of these products, circle the appropriate number on the reply card in this issue and return it to National Hog Farmer.
Bio-Curtain Filters Out Dust Particles
The Bio-Curtain from BEI Ag Environmental Solutions completely encloses tunnel ventilation fans in a freestanding, steel-framed structure. Tough, porous, polypropylene scrim fabric filters dust particles without hampering fan performance.
The Bio-Curtain also reduces wind interaction with fans. There is no noticeable static pressure buildup on fans and no need to boost fan horsepower when using the Bio-Curtain, according to John Baumgartner, president of BEI Ag Environmental Solutions. “Since the Bio-Curtain totally encloses the fans, our research has shown fan performance may actually be more consistent.” The product is engineered to withstand 130 mph winds and snow loads of 20 lb./sq. ft. The Bio-Curtain has a 10-year minimum lifespan.
Both single- and multiple-fan Bio-Curtains are available. Single-fan units are available in 5-ft.-wide lengths for $500-$700. These single-fan units can accommodate up to a 36-in. fan. The Bio-Curtain can be custom-sized to fit most barns or fan configurations. A typical, 41-ft. finishing barn configuration costs around $3,100 to $3,500 for materials and installation, depending on options, Baumgartner says.
Baumgartner, answering Pohl's question about cleaning the Bio-Curtain, explained that the outside of the unit will self-clean during rain events. A ground cover mat inside the structure collects dust and can be rolled up and discarded annually. A layer of deflection fabric inside the structure can be pressure-washed in place or taken outside and cleaned about two to four times per year, or as necessary.
Producers can choose from do-it-yourself installation kits or full installation options.
The basic color is black, but blue is also available. Custom weaves can include green or red threads woven in with the black threads.
Agricultural engineer Pohl said reducing dust emissions could also help reduce dust-borne odor.
Torrison and Chinn thought the Bio-Curtain could help neighbors or people driving by hog buildings to perceive the site more positively. Karsten agreed, “Sometimes people smell more with their eyes than they actually do with their noses.”
Torrison added, “When people drive by and see fans on buildings, I think they expect to smell something. This new product may be the first step in what could be an emerging technology.”
(Circle Reply Card No. 104)
Enterisol Ileitis Vaccine
The Enterisol Ileitis vaccine from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. is administered in one dose through drinking water. The vaccine helps animals build immunity to Lawsonia intracellularis, the organism that causes ileitis.
Because Enterisol Ileitis is an avirulent, live-culture vaccine, it is very temperature sensitive. Proper vaccination timing is crucial. The vaccine is stored at ultra low (-70°C) temperatures and shipped in a container with two days' worth of dry ice. The vaccine has a limited storage life of seven days in a frost-free freezer and 14 days in a conventional freezer. Producers should time vaccinations to allow for thawing of the vaccine in a lukewarm running water bath of 60-70°F for 30 minutes immediately prior to vaccination. The vaccine will degrade if it is not used within the recommended four-hour time period after thawing.
There can be no antibiotics in the feed three days prior to, during and three days after vaccination. Anti-biotics inactivate the vaccine.
The vaccine can be administered to the animals via a medicator, tank or bulk water systems.
All medications, sanitizers and disinfectants should be removed from drinking water three days (72 hours) prior to vaccination and three days after vaccination. The watering system should be run with clean water to eliminate any remaining antibacterial agents.
Larry Graham, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. sales representative, recommends running clean water through the medicator the day prior to vaccination to help determine how much water will be needed for the stock solution. “Producers should measure the amount of water used in a four-hour time period at the same time of day they plan to vaccinate,” suggests Graham.
Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. offers a container called Ready Pack to neutralize chlorine in the drinking water during vaccination. The thawed Enterisol Ileitis vaccine is mixed with the predetermined amount of stock solution in the Ready Pack, which will work with the medicator/proportioner to deliver the vaccine.
If producers do not need a Ready Pack, the solution can be mixed in a clean bucket. Graham emphasized the importance of making sure the bucket contains no antibiotic or disinfectant residue.
Karsten sought clarification on other water quality considerations that could impact the vaccine's effectiveness. Graham said that in addition to removing chlorine, producers need to pay particular attention to whether or not hydrogen peroxide or citric acid is being added to the water.
Pigs need to drink the solution containing the vaccine within four hours after the vaccine is thawed. It is important to provide enough space so all the pigs can drink within the four-hour time frame.
Enterisol Ileitis should be administered to pigs at 3 weeks of age or older. It is not for use in pregnant females or breeding boars.
The product comes in 100-dose, 250-dose and 500-dose quantities. The cost ranges from $0.87 to $1.07 per dose, depending on the quantity.
Karsten asked whether maternal antibodies in pigs might impact the vaccine's effectiveness. Graham said the vaccine has been proven effective in pigs as young as 3 weeks old and therefore the effect of maternal antibodies can be assumed to be limited.
The presence of plasma proteins in nursery rations doesn't appear to interfere with vaccine effectiveness, he added in answer to a question posed by Torrison.
The panel was excited about having an alternative to medicated feed.
“Producers need to be very aware of the special handling considerations so they won't be disappointed by rendering the vaccine inactive,” Torrison said.
(Circle Reply Card No. 105)
Operating System Accesses Sophisticated Data
Metafarms, Inc. introduced a new operating system for pork production that gives producers access to sophisticated information management options.
Tom Stein, Metafarms CEO, said the new i-production operating system takes recordkeeping to a more complex, bigger-picture stage. For example, this new system incorporates integrated information systems, workflow management and an intranet portal, all customized for each pork production company.
Stein told the panel the i-production operating system was developed because producers kept asking for a computer operating system that ties together all parts of the pork production system.
“Producers kept telling us they needed a way to provide quick and easy access to the information they need without having to spend hours, days or weeks collecting the numbers, creating the reports and getting them distributed,” Stein explained. “They didn't want to see yet another production recordkeeping program for one part of the system, like just for sow farms, for example. What they really need is a way to see the business as a whole,” he added.
Key features of the i-production system are the ability to organize not just reports, but also schedules, production manuals, addresses and phone numbers, updates and company news, etc. This is done through a customizable portal framework that acts as the organizing principle for the company.
Using what Stein calls “slicing-and-dicing technology,” the MetaDesk Portal serves as the delivery vehicle for Automated Reports and Automated Charts and Graphs. For example, along with a producer's own reports, spreadsheets, Microsoft Word and HTML documents, PDF files and PowerPoint presentations, to name a few applications. By posting or linking once, producers can automatically distribute across an entire production company.
A dimensional analysis feature allows a producer to analyze data by farm, site or barn, manager, genetic line, or any other filter (dimension) they choose.
The i-production operating system can be hosted externally or internally. The external hosting option means customers need only turn on the computer, connect to the Internet via Internet Explorer and start using the system. Metafarms provides and manages all setup, computer hardware and software, server and security details. It would be similar to having a personal information services department at the producer's disposal, Stein explained.
Internal hosting means customers provide all computer hardware, network hardware and software, database, application and process monitoring, network security, and server databases and administration.
It is possible to start out with the external hosting and transition to an internal hosting set-up.
The technology is available to producers of all sizes, Stein said. Smaller producers may chose to utilize the externally hosted model through a network of Metafarms channel partners, such as veterinary clinics, feed companies or genetics companies.
The cost of the i-production operating system is between 10¢ and 50¢/pig, depending upon size of operation and level of service or options.
Because the system is customized to each operation, a one-time setup fee may apply, depending upon the complexity of information a producer is seeking.
Chinn said the i-production system seemed very user friendly. She wanted assurance the data would be secure. Stein said, “Metafarms uses a high-security data center, has incorporated network security best practices and has even passed an in-depth security audit by one of the country's largest pork producers.”
(Circle Reply Card No. 106)
Odorgon Tackles Hog Odors
Odor Control Company of Iowa is seeking to neutralize or eliminate odors from swine confinement operations, not just mask them, according to Tom Uthe, Odor Control Company of Iowa president. Odorgon reduces ammonia and hydrogen sulfide levels when it is misted inside hog confinement barns, he explained.
The water-based product is similar to those used in industrial and institutional settings. New product panelist Pohl was curious about the ammonia testing and whether university researchers had tested the product. Uthe says the company has been talking to universities about further testing.
Karsten asked about the level of hydrogen sulfide reduction. “We still recommend producers open windows and use adequate ventilation when emptying manure pits,” Uthe replied.
Torrison then asked about the classification of the chemical in Odorgon. Uthe explained that the product is a non-enzyme aqueous surfactant and is biodegradable.
Compounds have been tested in various operations representing different management and feeding programs, as well as those utilizing different building designs.
Odorgon is applied via a high-pressure delivery system that disperses a spray or atomized solution. The spray is dispersed for 15 seconds every 15 minutes.
Company representative Ron Hamilton, said water use depends upon the building in which the system is installed. In general, the system uses approximately 40-50 gal. of water per month per building.
The pump and spraying systems cost approximately $2,500 for installation in a 1,300-1,400-head finishing facility. The Odorgon product is sold by the gallon and costs approximately $55/gal. According to Uthe, “Product usage would be about 22.5 gal. per building, per turn of hogs and may vary depending on the amount of clean air exchange.” The cost of the product would average less than 90¢ per hog per turn, he said.
Chinn wondered if the product would control odors in manure pits and lagoons. Uthe said Odorgon is designed to only control barn odors to improve air quality at this time.
(Circle Reply Card 107)
PrimeGRO IGF-I Aids Genetic Selection
PrimeGRO IGF-1, a blood test for measuring circulating insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in newly weaned pigs, was introduced by Primegro Limited. IGF-1 levels have a genetic correlation with a number of economically important traits, according to Mark McKenzie, Primegro Limited sales and marketing manager.
The purpose of the PrimeGRO IGF-1 technology is to help breeders identify animals that will help accelerate genetic gain in key economic traits, such as lower backfat and higher feed conversion, at a young age. International research has shown piglets with lower levels of IGF-1 are more likely to produce offspring with these better traits, McKenzie explained. By identifying this potential early, producers can get a head start on making selection decisions.
Producers take blood samples from pigs shortly after weaning, before 36 days of age. Three drops of blood from each piglet are applied to a business-card-sized piece of paper. Primegro Limited provides card-holding racks on which the blood sample cards are dried. The cards are then sent to a lab for testing. The cost per test is around $10-$12 per piglet. Usually it is only necessary to test 3-5 piglets per litter.
Jerry Torrison thought this was a nice option for producers who were interested in making genetic progress and who had control over breeding decisions.
Arlin Karsten was pleased with the economic feasibility of the test for producers of all sizes.
(Circle Reply Card No. 108)
10-Day Semen Extender
Androhep Endura Guard semen extender from Minitube of America maintains reproductive performance of semen at least 10 days. The product is particularly suited for boar studs because extended shelf life allows more time for disease testing. And, the product allows more doses to be processed per collection.
The increased storage time allows sow farms to place larger semen orders and boar studs to make fewer deliveries per sow farm.
The panelists found the biosecurity advantages of this product to be very positive.
“Reducing the number of delivery vehicles coming to a unit helps reduce biosecurity risks,” related Torrison.
Karsten speculated this product could help small producers get access to higher quality genetics through artificial insemination (AI). “There are some smaller producers who can't take advantage of AI because they don't require the volume of semen that is required in larger orders,” he said. “The increased storage life might allow a producer to take advantage of larger orders.”
Mark Wilson, Minitube vice president of research and development, said the price of Androhep EnduraGuard depends upon volume ordered.
(Circle Reply Card No. 109)
Negative Air Pressure Cover
The Negative Air Pressure (NAP) Odor Abatement System consists of a plastic cover that lies on the surface of the liquid manure in a lagoon. The cover is sealed around the perimeter and held in place by negative air pressure created by small, fractional-horsepower fans with a 500 cfm rated capacity.
Dennis Antony, general manager of Encon Technologies, Inc., says the cover technology produces year-round odor control. The cover retains nitrogen better while greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
The covers were initially tested in Canada and are now patented in both Canada and the U.S.
Covers can be temporarily removed when lagoons are pumped out. Encon has also developed an air-assisted agitation system that efficiently agitates manure solids without the need to remove the cover.
The company can fit or retrofit most any lagoon size. The company manufactured and installed a 10-acre lagoon cover for one U.S. swine operation. They also install each cover to guarantee proper fit.
When asked about the durability of the plastic cover, Antony noted the cover is treated to resist damage from ultraviolet light. The life expectancy of the cover is 10 years.
The cost of the Negative Air Pressure Cover is approximately 35¢ to 40¢/sq. ft., including the cover, fan system and installation.
(Circle Reply Card No. 110)
Agroscan Portable Ultrasound Scanner
The 3.5-lb. Agroscan Portable Ultrasound Scanner from E.C.M. provides reliable 18-day pregnancy detection. “I made this scanner for farmers,” said Patrice Emery, designer of the Agroscan. The unit features a built-in, rechargeable battery with 3.5 hours of battery life. The battery will recharge in six hours. Agroscan can also be operated on AC power and comes with a shoulder harness.
The Agroscan features a 5.2-in. viewing screen. The cost of the pregnancy-detection unit is $5,700. The unit, capable of pregnancy checking as well as automatic backfat measurement, costs $6,700. The Agroscan does not offer an automatic loineye scanning option.
Emery said E.C.M. will repair units with one-day turn-around time if shipped via overnight delivery.
Pohl thought the ease of cleaning was an advantage offered by this scanner. However, the panel agreed it might become difficult to pregnancy check a large sow herd without running out of battery power.
(Circle Reply Card No. 111)
SonoSite 180 Ultrasound
The SonoSite 180 Portable Ultrasound Scanner, from Products Group International, Inc., is based on technology developed by the U.S. military for battlefield conditions. The 5.4-lb. scanner features medical grade image quality to make 17-20-day pregnancy checking possible, depending on the ability level of the operator.
The SonoSite 180 can scan up to 100 frames per second. Internal memory makes it possible to store up to 50 images. The last frames scanned are automatically stored for instant frame-by-frame review using a cineloop. This allows the operator to freeze an image and go backward in time, frame by frame.
Color Power Doppler allows the operator to verify fetal heartbeat or view blood flow. Panelists Chinn and Karsten felt this would be a big advantage during farrowing. “You could check for retained pigs and make decisions about what steps to take based on whether the pigs were still alive,” Chinn said.
A 60-mm, 5.0 to 2.0 megahertz broadband electronic transducer has no moving parts. This transducer allows the user to incrementally adjust the depth of scan from 4 cm to 22 cm to better fit the animal. The same probe can be used to check backfat, loineye area, loineye depth, pregnancy and ovaries. The scanner and probe can be cleaned with standard spray-on disinfectants.
An internal, removable and rechargeable lithium-ion battery comes with the SonoSite 180. The unit will also operate on AC power, and the operator can wear it in a chest sling.
A 12-month warranty covers parts and labor. During the warranty period, if repairs are needed, a loaner system will be shipped via overnight delivery until the unit is repaired and returned.
The panel liked the ability to test pregnancy, loineye and backfat with the same transducer head.
The SonoSite 180 costs $8,500, which includes scanner, transducer, backpack carry case and chest sling pack.
(Circle Reply Card No. 112)
Bantam Ultrasound Machine
The Bantam Ultrasound machine from E.I. Medical, designed to make sow pregnancy checking easier, weighs just under 2 lb. A pair of glasses contains a monitor that helps the user view images outdoors or in bright conditions. The glasses come standard with the machine, along with a waist pack, which allows freedom of movement.
The Bantam also comes with a smart card option, allowing a producer to store 16 images on a card. These images can then be transferred to a personal computer. An internal memory option allows 128 images to be saved for training purposes, or for genetic or breeding research.
The Bantam is 7-in. long, 5-in. wide and 2-in. deep. A drop-in lithium battery provides approximately four hours of battery life and will recharge in approximately one hour. The battery charger is also the AC adapter and can run the unit on AC power.
Depending on the skills of the user, the Bantam Ultrasound machine can detect 17-day pregnancy fluid. The pregnancy-checking application is done with a 3.5 megahertz sector transducer. According to E.I. Medical's Jennifer Napolitano, a 3.5 megahertz linear transducer is required for backfat and loineye measurements. The cost of additional transducer heads is $2,800. Producers can choose which transducer head they wish to include with their package.
The cost of the unit varies depending on the options requested. The standard pork producer's unit would cost $7,900 and would include a battery, the transducer to scan for pregnancy and the waist pack, as well as the battery charger. Additional batteries cost $300.
Available options include a full alphanumeric keyboard, multi-resolution transducers and a personal computer link. An optional 7-in. pop-up video monitor can be used simultaneously with the headset.
The cost of the additional transducer heads to switch from pregnancy detection to backfat and loineye measurements was a consideration for several of the panel members. “This unit might be a good option for keeping on a sow farm,” Karsten said.
The Bantam Ultrasound machine should not be submerged in liquid for cleaning, but can be sprayed with a disinfectant solution and water.
(Circle Reply Card No. 113)
The new product review panel investigated the pros and cons of three portable ultrasound machines at the trade show. The machines had the capability of measuring backfat and loineye, in addition to pregnancy checking.
The panel felt all three ultrasound units offered worthy features to progressive pork producers.
“It all depends upon what you want in an ultrasound machine,” Karsten noted. “They all looked like excellent units that are going to do the job, depending on the cost and utility issues,” agreed Torrison. “It gets down to what you are planning to do with the machine and what you feel you can afford to pay.”
Pohl was impressed with the evolution of the technology and the reduced cost, compared to ultrasound machines available in the past.
“The ultrasound units we looked at have become so portable,” Chinn observed. “I liked the rechargeable battery options on two of the models, too. This would allow you to keep a spare battery on hand.”
Details on the three ultrasound machines follow: