This is the 80th monthly column written for National Hog Farmer’s Weekly Preview. This monthly exercise has forced us to look at production data in new ways and to dig deeper into our database. We have learned a great deal in this process.
As a result, we have written a new Swine Management Services (SMS) benchmarking program that incorporates some of the knowledge we have gained over the last four years. This new program will retain everything that is in the current farm benchmarking program, plus new parity benchmarking reports and charts....More
Although U.S. cattle genetics are exported all over the world in the form of frozen semen, the same is not true for pigs because boar semen does not freeze well. In an attempt to improve semen storage and pig reproduction, animal scientists at the University of Illinois are looking at how sperm survives in the sow oviduct....More
A piglet called "Pig 26" is the first animal to be created via “gene editing.” It was born four months ago at Edinburgh's Roslin Institute, where Dolly the cloned sheep was created in 1996. Pig 26 was engineered to have a gene making it immune to African swine fever, a virus which can kill European pigs within 24 hours of infection....More
Building on its successful return to Iowa State University (ISU) last year, the 2013 version of Iowa Swine Day has a new format and plenty of information for pork industry members. John Patience, ISU professor of animal science, says the registration for the June 27 event is now open....More
When Iowa State University (ISU) animal science professor Ken Stalder received word that he was the 2012 recipient of the National Swine Improvement Federation’s (NSIF) Charles Stanislaw Memorial Distinguished Service Award, it was a moment to remember....More
A presentation at the Midwest Animal Science meeting in Des Moines this week indicated that walking gestating sows might improve the fertility of Yorkshire pigs. According to research presented by Samantha Kaminski, a graduate student at North Dakota State University, swine fetuses showed significant ovarian development after their mothers exercised....More
I don’t know about you, but with the issuance of each USDA Hogs & Pigs report, I have this nagging little thought in the back of my mind that this could be the quarter that the “pigs saved/litter” tally stalls out....More
As we work with farms to improve pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y), we continue to look at the interaction of key performance indicators. For this article, we will focus on wean-to-first service interval, which is the time it takes a weaned female to return to heat and be bred....More
We decided to drill down a little deeper into the equation for pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y), which is litters weaned/mated female/year x pigs weaned/female farrowed.
In this article, we will look at the litters weaned/mated female/year portion of the equation....More
To compare the value of feeding natural vs. synthetic vitamin E, Kansas State University (KSU) researchers used 126 PIC gilts and sows and their litters to determine the effect of vitamin E level and source on sow plasma, milk and piglet tissue concentrations of α-tocopherol (a naturally occurring compound found in a variety of foods that provides concentrations of vitamin E)....More
Spermatozoa from some boars can be frozen more successfully than others. In a Mississippi State University Study, a two-dimensional differential in gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) was used to analyze the total protein contents (proteome) of fertile boar spermatozoa known as “poor freezers” or “good freezers.”...More
An international consortium made up of more than 50 university, industry and government laboratories in the United States, Europe and Asia worked for more than 10 years to produce a detailed annotation of the pig genome....More
Whether due to lameness or unproductivity, culling sows is a frequent event on most hog farms. Because it is not a daily task, it is not given the emphasis and training needed to effectively manage this neglected profit center, says Terry Whiting, DVM, manager of Animal Health and Welfare, Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives....More
Why is it that whenever you mix unfamiliar sows or pigs in a group a fierce battle ensues?
It’s in their genes. Pigs are hard-wired to establish a hierarchy when placed in the near proximity of others. That’s the conclusion USDA livestock behavioral specialist Jeremy Marchant-Forde offered at a sow housing workshop during the Leman Swine Conference recently. But he adds a caveat: Given a choice, they might just avoid the altercation altogether. At least, that’s what their ancestors would do....More
As we continue to look at the seasonal effects on performance of a select set of farms in the Swine Management Services database, this week we will focus on total number born and weaned by farrowing crate, by weaning age and by female farrowed....More
Have you ever taken a look at seasonal effects on key performance indicators such as percent repeat services, farrowing rate, farrow-to-farrow interval, litters farrowed/mated female/year or litter farrowed/crate/year?...More
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have discovered a way for producers to quickly measure a newborn piglet’s nursing ability and increase odds of survival in at-risk piglets.
Physiologist Jeffrey Vallet and fellow scientists at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, NE, developed a measuring technique called “immunocrit,” which determines whether young piglets receive adequate sow colostrum....More
National headlines are proclaiming a bacon shortage and grocery stores and bacon-burger restaurants may already be raising prices, according to a post Wednesday by Illinois blogger Stu Ellis.
In short, the headlines may push consumers away from even checking prices in the meat case, assuming that bacon is too expensive to afford for a family trying to survive the recession. But what is the real situation with regard to the availability of pork products?...More
When artificial insemination is used, it is imperative that the stockperson learn to simulate the actions of the boar. The more the boar is allowed to stimulate the female, the greater the chances of producing a standing response. When stimulation is provided effectively, estrus lasts longer and ovulation is greater.
In the last few months, we have fielded numerous calls and reviewed a lot of farm data to take a hard look at why there is so much variation in farrowing rate between farms and weeks of the year....More