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Evaluating the piglet grimace scale

Animal Science master's degree student Maria Lou and her Advisor Yuzhi Li are conducting research on the piglet grimace scale. The grimace scale identifies and assesses changes in facial expression when an animal is experiencing acute pain. This non-invasive method, along with the application of photogrammetry technology, provides a more detailed, 3D image of piglets. The goal of this project is to identify and recognize pain in pigs in order to help improve pain management and welfare. Watch the "Evaluating the piglet grimace scale" video to listen to Maria talk about her research project.
Recent posts

Streptococcus equi subsp.

Case study from Dr. Matheus Costa, UMN in collaboration with Dr. Brad Lage, Maple Leaf Agri-Farms and originally posted on the UMN Swine in Minnesota blog.


Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus) is considered a commensal and opportunistic pathogen of several warm-blooded hosts, including humans, horses, different canines and swine. It can cause severe disease characterized by pneumonia, septicemia and meningitis (1, 2). S. zooepidemicus has been suggested as a normal inhabitant of the palatine tonsils of pigs, being detected by both culture and high-throughput sequencing in samples collected from healthy animals (3). However, strains virulent to pigs have also been reported in the literature, particularly associated with high-mortality outbreaks of sudden death and respiratory disease in China (4).

In April 2019 an outbreak of sudden death and abortions occurred in 4 loose-housed, commercial sow farms (approximately 9000 sows) in a large vertically integrated swine …

Feeding the 2019 crop: Quality issues to consider

By Jason Ertl, Ag Production Systems Extension Educator in Nicollet and Sibley countiesOriginally printed in THE LAND - December 13/December 20, 2019

It’s no secret that crop producers in the upper Midwest faced numerous climatic challenges this past year. Snowstorms well into April led to a wet spring and delayed planting, and as we inched closer to harvest season, the question on everyone’s mind was whether or not the crop had reached physiological maturity. This concern became especially evident in the region’s corn crop, as late planted and those perpetually wet fields resulted in some higher harvest moistures and lighter test weights. When other harvest complications are added into the mix, such as LP shortages or weather-related delays, the risks related to grain quality and contamination become of greater importance.

Since nearly 60-70 percent of the US crop is destined for feed, the implications of decreased feed quality could influence a large number of livestock producers.…

Register for 2020 PorkBridge and 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 owners, 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.