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Showing posts from May, 2018

Sustainability Requires Definition, Standards, Measurements

Originally printed in The Land - April 19, 2018 My name is Erin Cortus and I am a new faculty member in the Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota. My role is to provide engineering expertise in the area of sustainable animal agriculture systems. Through Extension and research, I work with producers and community members to understand and continually improve the environments in which we raise livestock. What is a sustainable animal agriculture system? The answer depends on many things, and that is what makes my job both exciting and challenging. At the heart of most agriculture sustainability definitions you find the following question: What are the current social, economic and environmental considerations that allow a system to continue to produce food, fuel and fiber for future generations? This goal seems simple enough, but we also have to consider the following. Every farm, company and industry h

New Online Tool Helps Farmers, Applicators Time Manure Applications with Weather

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has teamed up with the National Weather Service to design a tool that helps farmers and commercial applicators determine the best time to apply manure. The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast tool uses past and predicted National Weather Service weather data like precipitation, temperature and snow melt. It predicts the likelihood that applied manure will run off fields in daily, next day and 72 hour increments. Farmers and commercial applicators use an interactive map to locate their field and find the forecasted risk. Users can also sign up for email or text messages for their county that alert them to a severe runoff risk for that day. When someone goes to the interactive map, the runoff risk is displayed in one of four categories: no runoff expected, low, moderate and severe. When the risk is moderate or severe, it is recommended that the applicator evaluate the situation to determine if there are other locations or later dates when the

Livestock Owners Encouraged to Review Regulations Before Moving Animals This Spring

Message from MN Board of Animal Health Spring and summer exhibitions, like county fairs, are right around the corner. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health reminds livestock owners to review animal health and movement regulations before hitting the road. Moving livestock can be a burdensome process, which can go much smoother when everyone prepares ahead of time. Regulations at exhibitions, for official identification and health documentation (for animals moving between states), are in place to protect the health of the animals and the livelihood of livestock businesses and enthusiasts. Before you even begin getting ready to move your animal, make sure it's healthy by scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian. If you're moving your animal interstate, or out of Minnesota, you must have your veterinarian examine the animal and write you a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. This document helps animal health officials track animal movements and trace disease if those

2018 Updates to Common Swine Industry Audit

Every year the Industry Audit Task Force reviews feedback from producers, packers, auditors and customers regarding the Common Swine Industry Audit to help clarify and revise portions of the audit. There are no new questions or required records. The majority of the changes for 2018 are clarifications to the standard. Details of the 2018 updates are as follows: Animal Observations Excessive prod use was added as a willful act of abuse for consistency with the transport/load-out section Boar harnesses were added to the animal handling section Clarification on what to evaluate was added to the deep wounds and scratches benchmarking sections Instructions for auditing thermal comfort/air temperatures and air quality were added

Manure Expo August 15 & 16

The North American Manure Expo is planned for August 15 - 16 in Brookings, SD at the Swiftel Center - 824 32nd Avenue, Brookings, SD 57006. Manure Expo is free to attend (with exception of tours) but pre-registration is recommended to speed up the check-in process. August 15th is tour day - 2018 tours include dairy, beef and swine! Spaces are limited and $20 pre-registration is required. Registration link . Descriptions of tour options can also be found through the registration link. Other Manure Expo highlights include outdoor vendor sets, land application demonstrations, manure agitation demonstrations and educational seminars. For a detailed agenda and more information on the 2018 Manure Expo, visit . Keep checking for updates! Questions can be directed to Erin Cortus, UMN Extension Engineer 612-625-8288 or .

Recently Published by Swine Team Members

Congratulations to the following swine faculty and educators from the Swine Extension Team who have had their work published recently. Alkhamis, M. A., Arruda, A. G., Vilalta, C., Morrison, R. B. , and Perez, A. M. (2018). Surveillance of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus in the United States using risk mapping and species distribution modeling. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 150, 135-142. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2017.11.011.

Evening PQA Plus Certification to be Held

An evening PQA (Pork Quality Assurance) Plus certification training is planned for June 27 in Mankato, MN Time: 6 - 9 PM Location: MN Pork Board Office, 151 Saint Andrews Ct. Ste. 810, Mankato, MN Pre-registration is requested to Colleen at MN Pork Board at or call 1-800-537-7675.

Episode 5: Integrating Cover Crops with Manure

Sarah Schieck, UMN Swine Extension Educator talks to Randy Pepin, UMN Extension Educator about research he recently completed regarding integrating cover crops with manure. Links from this episode: Listen to the podcast (recorded April 23, 2018) Visit the Manure and Soil Health blog to read a blog post on the research project discussed in the podcast.  The blog post is titled, Effects of liquid manure injection into a winter rye cover crop: on-farm trials .  Authors Les Everett, University of Minnesota Water Resources Center and Randy Pepin, University of Minnesota Extension

Understanding Tail-Biting in Pigs through Social Network

By: Yuzhi Li, Haifeng Zhang, Lee Johnston, and Wayne Martin - University of Minnesota Reprinted as posted on  Swine Minnesota blog . This study focused on the effect of social network on tail-biting in pigs. The full-text of the article is available in open-access on the website of the journal Animals. We know that pigs are social animals and that they naturally form social structures to maintain a cohesive group. However, we have little understanding of how those group dynamics affect deleterious behavior like tail-biting. To answer the question of the association between social structure and incidence of tail-biting in pigs, the researchers created 18 groups of 8 pigs. 6 groups were Littermates: all the 8 pigs were born from and nursed by the same sow. 6 groups were Half-group of littermates: 4 pigs were born from the same sow whereas the 4 others came from the litter of another sow. 6 groups were Non-littermates: all 8 pigs were born from a different sow.