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Snow Loads on Buildings

The excessive amount of ice and snow that has fallen this winter has livestock owners concerned about snow load and potential roof collapse. The design roof snow load for residential buildings in MN is set by state statutes and is 42 pounds per square foot (psf) in northern MN and 35 psf in southern MN. However, many agricultural buildings are built using a 20 psf snow load which would be expected to handle six feet of dry, fluffy snow or one foot of wet, heavy snow.
Recent posts

Evaluation of internal farm biosecurity measures combined with sow vaccination to prevent influenza A virus infection in groups of due-to-wean pigs

Reprinted as posted on Swine in Minnesota blog November 29, 2022. Recently Montse Torremorell’s lab published a paper regarding the impact that internal biosecurity measures can have on influenza A infection in piglets when combined with sow vaccination. Methods Six Midwestern farrow-to-wean farms, positive for swine influenza. No vaccination in the six months prior. Five farms used biosecurity measures and whole herd vaccination. One served as control. Added internal biosecurity included stopping piglet movement after day 3 and no nurse sow and switching of equipment between litters for example. All sows and gilts received two IM injections of farm-specific autogenous influenza vaccine. Thirty udder wipes were collected for three weeks (90 udder wipes total), starting six weeks after the second vaccination. Environmental samples were collected each week as well. Results Following these interventions, four of the five treatment farms had significant reductions in Influenza A Virus (IAV

Survey for alternative and outdoor pig farmers in Minnesota

As you may be aware, there are more alternative pig farms in Minnesota than there are large commercial farms. These farms are important for sustainability and make the food supply chain more resilient by providing pork locally but not a lot is known about the production and marketing practices. It is important to characterize these as there may be improvement opportunities that can aid in maintaining your pigs health. My name is Miranda Medrano and I am a 3rd year PhD student at the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. I am conducting a survey to learn more about the different farming, management, biosecurity, and marketing practices used on farms that raise pigs outdoors or allow pigs outdoor access at least partially during the year in Minnesota. The information gathered through this survey will be used as part of my PhD thesis exploring the risk factors for and potential spread of high impact swine diseases, such as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (

Register for 2023 Sowbridge

Is it your New Year’s resolution to stay current with research and management techniques in the pork industry? If so, the SowBridge program is for you. SowBridge is a distance education series for people involved in managing or caring for sows, and/or their litters, and boars, including operation owners, caretakers, technicians, managers and technical service providers. SowBridge offers accurate and timely information on a variety of topics from experts. Sessions are generally scheduled for the first Wednesday of the month from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Central Time. One exception this year; the fifth session is moved up one week to May 31 to avoid conflicts with World Pork Expo. “Each registration provides a link to participate via Zoom and all program materials provided by presenters. During each session, participants can ask questions directly to the presenter from the comfort of their home, office or swine unit,” Schieck Boelke says. Cost for the series is $200 for the first regis

Working in the cold resources

I know we just went through a frigid cold spell, but that doesn’t mean we might not see those temperatures again this winter. The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) has a Cold Stress Toolkit for working through the winter. The tool kit offers fact sheets for working in the cold weather and posters about preventing cold stress. Check it out on UMASH’s website . Emily Krekelberg, University of Minnesota Extension farm safety and health educator along with Hannah Lochner, University of Minnesota Extension communications assistant have created the above infographic for dressing to stay warm in the cold.