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Showing posts from 2017

Use of processing fluids for PRRSV diagnostics

Reprinted as posted on UMN Swine Disease Eradication Center's Swine in Minnesota blog.

During the last few years, the improvement of sampling and diagnostics techniques has made sampling at the farm aneasier task. The use of blood pooling techniques and oral fluids are two examples of those improvements. However, veterinarians and producers are always looking for more sensitive, cheaper and quicker techniques for sampling herds. One of the ways of achieving these goals would be to use routine chores, such as piglet processing, since castration and tail docking are part of the regular procedures in sow farms. We propose to use the processing fluids (PF), the liquid accumulated at the bottom of the pail when farmers collect tails and testicles during routine procedures, as a sample. The goal of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of the processing fluids by real-time PCR to assess Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus (PRRSV) status in a sow herd.

Click here to read…

Describing the cull sow and cull hog market networks in the US: A pilot project

Reprinted as posted on UMN Swine Disease Eradication Center's Swine in Minnesota blog.  Please note this project was done by Dr. Jim Lowe at the University of Illinois and not by UMN, but shared through the Science Page as part of Bob Morrison's Swine Health Monitoring Project.

This project was designed to help answer the questions, "what is the range of locations of sows that enter a slaughter plant?", "how many stops along the way do they make?" and "how long do they remain in the slaughter channel?" Currently there is little data to investigate such questions allowing the industry and regulators to make informed decisions about how to respond to an animal disease outbreak. This project set out to collect data from a harvest plant to see if such information could help answer these questions allowing the industry and animal health officials to better make decisions to prevent and control animal health emergencies.

Click here to read the entire

Erin Cortus Hired as Ag Extension Engineer

Erin Cortus joined the Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Department of University of Minnesota in August 2017. Her position as Assistant Professor and Extension Engineer will provide engineering expertise in the area of sustainable animal agriculture systems.

Erin's research interests are the measurement and estimation of farm-level gas emissions, like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, and the related impacts on the animals, workers and surrounding community. Her Extension mission is to work with producers and communities to understand and continually improve the environments that we raise livestock in.

Melissa Wilson Hired as Manure Specialist

Melissa Wilson recently joined the Department of Soil, Water,
and Climate at the University of Minnesota as the new Extension manure management and water quality specialist. She will be working with farmers across the state to effectively manage and use manure in a way that makes sense economically and safely while keeping water quality challenges in mind. Melissa's research program will also focus on these aspects and she looks forward to working with swine producers to meet their needs.

UMN Extension is now on Facebook!

Our University of Minnesota Swine Extension program Facebook page launched on July 21, 2017 and continues to attract followers and visitors.
Organized to provide University of Minnesota research data and production information, the Facebook page also highlights swine-related events across the state and includes scheduled educational programs.

University of Minnesota Swine Extension program can be found at

If you're interested in social media be sure to follow us on Facebook!

Women in Ag Network to Host Farm Transition Workshop

Are you thinking about transitioning your farm and interested in learning more about the transition planning process?

Farm Business Transition: Where Do I Begin is presented by the University of Minnesota Extension's Women in Ag Network (WAGN). The WAGN is a collaboration of Extension with USDA's Minnesota Farm Service Agency.

When: December 14, 2017 - Registration at 9:30 AM; Program 9:45 AM to 2:30 PM with lunch.Where: St. Cloud Regional Extension Office, 3601 18th St. S., Suite #113, St. Cloud, MN 56301.Cost: $20 (includes lunch and resource booklet)Register: Deadline to register is December 6, 2017

Corn Harvest, Drying, Storage Challenging this Year

By: Ken Hellevang, NDSU and Dave Nicolai, UMN Extension

Each year brings challenges for crop production, North Dakota State University Extension Service grain drying expert Ken Hellevang warns.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 82 percent of the Minnesota corn crop is mature compared with a five-year average of 93 percent. As of Oct. 15, only 7 percent of the Minnesota corn crop had been harvested, compared with a 38 percent average.

To continue reading, view article on UMN Crop Extension Blog.

PQA Plus Advisor Training to be held in November

PQA Plus Advisors are the educators who work directly with producers to educate them on the PQA Plus program and will help producers obtain PQA Plus certification and PQA Plus site status at their respective production sites.

Upcoming PQA Plus Advisor training date and location:

November 15 - 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.                                                                             AmericInn - 1406 E Lyon St., Marshall, MN

How much Floor Space does a Pregnant Sow need in a Group-Housing System with Electronic Sow Feeders?

Yuzhi Li, Associate Professor
West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris

Determining floor space allowance for gestating sows can be controversial because more floor space for the sow means less output (profitability) per square foot for the producer. On the other hand, less floor space can compromise sow welfare and performance. In a recent project, we set-out to determine the minimal floor space required for gestating sows. Read more.

Bioaerosol Sampling for Airborne Virus Surveillance in Swine Facilities

Reprinted as posted on UMN Swine Disease Eradication Center's Swine in Minnesota blog.

Bioaerosol sampling refers to the methods by which one is able to collect the particles of biological origin (microbial, animal, or plant) in the air. This is useful information in swine production because many economically important pathogens can be transmitted by air from one farm to the next. Seventy-three scientific reports were included in this review published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science. The information regarding the presence of viruses in the air around swine settings is limited but their findings has been compiled in the figure below. Overall, bioaerosol sampling could be a promising way to conduct non-invasive viral surveillance among swine farms. Continue reading.

Dr. Cesar Corzo welcomed as New Leman Chair

Reprinted as posted on UMN Swine Disease Eradication Center's Swine in Minnesota blog.

The University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine is happy to announce that Dr. Cesar Corzo has accepted an appointment to the Allen D. Leman Chair in Swine Health and Productivity effective October 2, 2017. The appointment is considered one of the most prestigious faculty positions in the world involving swine medicine. Corzo was selected following an international search. Continue reading.

Manure's Value to Erosion and Runoff

Author: Rick Koelsch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Funding support is from North Central Region Water Network(

Manure's impact on formation of larger and more stable soil aggregates was the focus of a July 2017 MaSH blog. This article reviews the soil erosion and runoff benefits that results from changes to soil's physical characteristics from manure. Continue reading.

Don't Miss the 78th Minnesota Nutrition Conference

The Minnesota Nutrition Conference is a highly regarded and well known livestock nutrition conference in the upper Midwest. For over 75 years, this conference has delivered leading-edge, research-based knowledge to advance sustainable production of beef, dairy, equine, swine and poultry.

Join us for the 78th Minnesota Nutrition Conference on September 20 - 21, 2017. Details are posted on the conference website including the Program Agenda.

Register now! See Registration Information for detail. Register onlineby September 15 for early bird pricing. Pre-registration is encouraged. Registration includes Pre-Conference Symposium, General Session, Species Sessions, 2 lunches, 2 continental breakfasts, breaks, reception, and 1 copy of proceedings (flash drive or print).

Plan to Attend the Allen D. Leman Conference

The Allen D. Leman Swine Conference is an annual educational event for the global swine industry. It is internationally acclaimed for bringing science-driven solutions to the complex challenges facing the industry. Each year hundreds of participants from over 20 countries attend the Leman Swine Conference held in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Join us for the 2017 Allen D. Leman Swine Conference on September 16 - 19, 2017. Details are posted on the conference website including the conference agenda. Be sure to check out the Pre-Conference Program.

Episode 1: Effects of dietary fiber on swine intestinal epithelial and immune response

Sarah Schieck, UMN Swine Extension Educator talks to graduate student Marta Ferrandis Vila about her research on the effects of dietary fiber on swine intestinal epithelial and immune response.  Tom Molitor, swine faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine also joins the conversation.

Listen to the Podcast (recorded May 30, 2017)

Solar Cooling of Sows

Lee Johnston, Professor; Mike Reese (1), Renewable Energy Director; Eric Buchanan (1), Scientist; Kevin Janni (2), Extension Engineer; and Kristen Sharpe (1), Junior Scientist
West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris (1) and University of Minnesota, St. Paul (2)
Over the last couple of years, researchers at the West Central Research and Outreach Center have been involved in a project entitled "Greening of Agriculture". This project focuses on methods to reduce the use of fossil fuels in production agriculture. As a next step in the project, researchers are investigating the use of solar-generated electricity as a way to improve sow performance during the summer by investigating a more effective cooling system. Read more.

Develop Sows to Fill Upcoming Packer Demand

By Diane DeWitte, University of Minnesota Swine Extension Educator Minnesota swine producers have interesting days ahead of them as several new packer options open up in the next year.  Feed costs are under control, prices have improved, sows are farrowing large litters and it lightens a producer's step on the daily trek to the hog barn.
In the not-so-distant past, we were pleased with 10 pigs per litter weaned at 17 days of age and our pigs weaned/sow/year goal was 22 or 23. Sow genetics continue to improve, and it's common to wean 12-13 pigs per litter and, even at a 25- day weaning age, yield 28-30 pigs weaned/sow/ year. Recent swine studies focus on management practices which can feed the pregnant and lactating sow who will be raising and weaning 13 or more pigs per litter. In addition, research attention is being paid to the birth and weaning weights of these large litters to learn whether the pigs are efficient feed converters and if their carcasses deliver consistent qu…

Manure Impact on Soil Aggregation

By Rick Koelsch, University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Funding support is from North Central Regional Water Network ( If manure increases formation of larger (macro) and more stable soil aggregates, several benefits may result for fields fertilized by manure compared to commercial fertilizer including: reduced runoff and soil erosion; increased water infiltration into the soil possibly leading to greater drought tolerance; and partial offsetting of higher soil P levels resulting from manure application and limiting P loss to local surface water. Continue reading.

Women in Agriculture Network's Summer Tour to Redhead Creamery

Join us for Women in Ag Network's Summer Tour!

Date: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Time: 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM (includes lunch)
Cost: $30 (Includes lunch, tour and transportation)


10:30 AM - 12:30 PM - Coach bus pick-up and transportation to farm
Pickups at Unviersity of Minnesota Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center (Willmar, MN), St. Cloud Regional Extension office, and Sauk Centre Wal-mart. Exact details to follow to those who register.

12:30 - 1:30 PM - Lunch at Redhead Creamery
1:30 - 4:00 PM - Tour of farm, creamery and family business discussion
4:00 - 5:30 PM - Transportation back to departure points

Registration deadline is August 9, 2017. To register for the event, please visit:

To learn more about Women in Ag Network, please visit:

For questions, please contact:
Betty Berning,, #320-203-6104
Sarah Schieck, #320-235-0726, x2004
Lindsay Mute…

Can Biosecurity Measures Prevent PEDV Transmission?

By Yonghyan Kim, My Yang, Sagar M. Goyal, Maxim C-J. Cheeran, and Montserrat Torremorell University of Minnesota-College of Veterinary Medicine

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus is highly contagious.

The 2013 Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus' (PEDV) outbreak in the USA taught the swine industry that the virus is highly contagious. This event forced producers and veterinarians to review and upgrade their biosecurity procedures.

Drs. Torremorell, Cheeran, and Goyal from the University of Minnesota evaluated some of these measures and how they can prevent PEDV transmission.

Read More

Sample and Diagnostic Types for Early Detection of Mycoplasma Hyopneumoniae

By Maria Pieters, Jason Daniels, Albert Rovira
University of Minnesota- College of Veterinary Medicine; Present location: John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 

Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is the causative agent enzootic pneumonia, an economically significant disease in pigs. In this study published by Drs. Pieters and Rovira from the University of Minnesota, pigs experimentally inoculated with M.hyopneumoniae were sampled 0, 2, 5, 9, 14, 21 and 28 post-inoculation.

New Extension Swine Educator Joins the Swine Extension Team

In mid-March Diane DeWitte joined the UM Extension Livestock team as an Educator specializing in swine, located at the Mankato Regional Extension office. DeWitte will work with current swine educator Sarah Schieck to provide programming for pork producers across Minnesota.

DeWitte previously served nine years as the University of Minnesota Extension Ag educator in Le Sueur and Blue Earth Counties where she provided livestock & crops education and managed the Master Gardener programs. She is part of the Minnesota Pork Quality Assurance (PQA+ and TQA) training team and is a familiar face teaching PQA+ and TQA certifications to swine producers.

Midwest Farm Energy Conference

The 2017 Midwest Farm Energy Conference is scheduled for June 13 - 14, 2017 at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), Morris. The conference will highlight energy efficient systems for Midwest dairies (June 13), as well as for swine production systems (June 14).

Early bird pricing is available until April 1, 2017 and will increase after that. Several registration packages are available for the conference including full conference, single day option, student pricing and the option to attend the keynote dinner only. Visit the registration page for pricing options and to register online.

Women in Ag Workshop

By Betty Berning, UMN Ag Business Management Extension Educator

Women in Agriculture Network (WAGN) will be hosting a farm transition and estate planning program, "Where Do I Begin?", as its next quarterly seminar.

The event takes place June 6, 2017 at the Halstad Legion Recreation Center (580 2nd Ave. West, Halstad, MN 56548). Registration is at 9:00 a.m. with the program running from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. The fee is $20, which covers the cost of lunch. Payment can be made the day of event. To register, please visit:

Learn More

Farm Safety Check: Keeping Children Safe

As spring planting gets underway I thought the below article by UMASH (Upper Midwest Agriculture Safety and Health Center) was very timely.

Every three days, a child dies in an agriculture-related incident, and each day, 33 children are injured. This is according to the 2017 Childhood Agricultural Injuries Fact Sheet compiled by the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety.

SAVE THE DATE! 78th Minnesota Nutrition Conference

September 20th - 21st plan on attending the 78th Minnesota Nutrition Conference in its new location at City Center Hotel in Mankato.

Registration will be opening soon.

We are pleased to welcome DuPont as the sponsor of the Pre-conference Symposium with a focus on "Nutrition in the Future."

The theme of this year's General Session is "The Future of Animal Production." The program agenda and speakers will be posted on the conference website soon.

The Minnesota Nutrition Conference is the Upper Midwest's premier forum for communicating leading edge, research-based information to advance nutrition and nutritional management of beef, dairy, equine, poultry and swine.

Floor Space Allowance for Modern Finishing Pigs

By Sarah Schieck, UMN Swine Extension Educator

Researchers from the University of Minnesota, Kansas State University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and University of Missouri completed a research project evaluating floor space allowances for modern finishing pigs. The main question their research sought to answer is “if old floor space allowances still apply for modern production scenarios?” To answer this question, two experiments were conducted. The main objective of Study 1 was to determine the effects of floor space allowance on growth performance and welfare of pigs throughout the grow-finish period when marketed at an average pen live weight of 300 pounds. The main objective of Study 2 was to determine the effects of floor space allowance on growth performance of pigs weighing 300 pounds.

Read full article.

Efficacy of Three Disinfectants against Senecavirus A on Five Surfaces and at Two Temperatures

Reprinted as posted on UMN Swine Disease Eradication Center's Swine in Minnesota blog

What disinfectant to use against Senecavirus A? Does it vary based on surface type or temperature? These are the questions that a group of researchers from the University of Minnesota - Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory are answering in the latest issue of the Journal of Swine Health and Production (JSHAP).

The project tested:
3 disinfectants: household bleach, a phenolic disinfectant and a quaternary ammonium - aldehyde5 surfaces: aluminum, stainless steel, rubber, cement and plastic2 temperatures: 25°C (77°F) and 4°C (39°F)Read full article.

NEW Management Guides for Sow Gestation Management

Recently the National Pork Board released a series of 6 sow housing management guides. University of Minnesota Swine faculty, Lee Johnston and Yuzhi Li were two of the several authors who wrote the guides. On a recent SowBridge session Johnston said, "The guides were developed to help producers manage the gestation housing system they have chosen to use in their respective production systems." The guides can be used as a training tool to educate caretakers on basic animal care skills related to each of the different housing systems. Each guide also includes a management guide, daily observation checklist and troubleshooting scenarios for the respective housing systems.

Swine Production Seminar on March 23 in Okoboji, IA

University of Minnesota Extension is co-sponsoring a swine production seminar along with Iowa State University Extension, Hubbard and Elanco on March 23 at Arrowwood Resort Conference Center (1405 Hwy 71) in Okoboji, IA.

Program highlights include: "Prime Pork. . .Giving New Life to Windom!", "Adapting to Change. . .Who Will Do it Best?", "Managing Pigs in an Unhealthy World" and "Getting Lean in 2017!". The program runs from 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. The program is free to attend and includes a noon lunch. Click here for more information and to see the full agenda.

Recap of 2017 Minnesota Pork Congress

University of Minnesota Swine Extension had a presence with members of the Swine Extension team
serving as seminar speakers and engaging with the audience through their booth display and having their 4-State Ventilation Trailer and Biosecure Entry Education Trailer (BEET) on display.

Looking to Become a PQA Plus Advisor?

PQA Plus Advisors are the educators who work directly with producers to educate them on the PQA Plus program and will help producers obtain PQA Plus certification and PQA Plus site status at their respective production sites.

Two PQA Plus Advisor training dates are planned for NEW Advisors:
March 15th - 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. , Minnesota Pork Board Office, 151 Saint Andrews Ct., Ste. 810November 15th - 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Worthington Regional Extension Office, 1527 Prairie Drive, Suite A

Docking the tail or not: Effect on welfare and performance of growing-finishing pigs

By:  Yuzhi Li, UMN Associate Professor of Swine Behavior and Welfare

Tail biting is a common problem in grow-finish pigs. Outbreaks of tail biting can cause major welfare complications of pigs with damaged tails. Because tail docking can cause pain in pigs, performing tail docking on a routine basis is under scrutiny due to animal welfare concerns.

Recently Yuzhi Li, Associate Professor of Swine Behavior and Welfare re-evaluated the consequences of raising pigs without tail docking in a study conducted at the West Central Research and Outreach Center near Morris, MN. Read more.

Solar Panels Power WCROC Swine Barn

By:  Lee Johnston, UMN Professor of Swine Nutrition and Management

Researchers at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) have been involved in a multi-faceted project called the "Greening of Agriculture." The overarching goal of this project is to reduce the reliance of modern production agriculture on fossil fuels. One way to reduce this reliance is to shift energy demand from non-renewable fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Major food companies are asking agriculture producers to move in this direction. Read more.

Confirmed detection of a new porcine circovirus: introducing PCV3

Reprinted as posted on UMN Swine Disease Eradication Center's Swine in Minnesota blog

Recently the Virology journal published a short report confirming the detection of a new porcine circovirus named PCV3. The virus was identified by a team of diagnosticians and researchers from the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the U of MN in collaboration with the Blood Systems Research Institute and Department of Laboratory Medicine in San Fransisco.

Check out the full journal article here.

Time to Register for 2017 PorkBridge & SowBridge Programs

Don't have a lot of time to attend a seminar or conference, but are still interested in staying current with new research and management techniques in the pork industry. PorkBridge and SowBridge programs allow managers and employees to increase their knowledge and skills without needing to leave the comfort of their home or farm office. Both programs are distant education programs combining a presentation viewed on a computer with live presentations delivered by teleconference from topic experts at a scheduled time or via a recording if unable to participate during the scheduled time.

The difference in the two programs is the audience they are aimed at.

MN Pork Congress - January 17 & 18

Be sure to visit the University of Minnesota's swine group booth at MN Pork Congress January 17 & 18. MN Pork Congress is an annual event sponsored by the Minnesota Pork Producers Association and held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. A number of seminars are held throughout the 2-day event.

One of the sessions presented by U of M specialists will feature current research that is being done at the University.

University of Minnesota Social at MN Pork Congress

Join fellow CFANS (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences) alumni and friends for the annual Alumni Social at MN Pork Congress on Tuesday, January 17th from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with your former classmates and network with CFANS folks in the industry you may have never met. Stop by, try some meat and cheese from CFANS's Meat Lab and Dairy Store, and spend time with friends new and old. Be sure to join the Facebook event. Details of the social can be found on the CFANS Alumni website. Be sure to RSVP if you are able to make it.