Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2021

Swine & U Column: Safety on the Farm This Fall

By Diane DeWitte, Extension swine educator Originally printed in The LAND - as October 15/October 22, 2021 Swine & U column October is a busy and favorite time of year for all of us in agriculture. Harvest is happening and there’s a lot to be done in crisp fall weather. Most farm families are working through repeated long days and short nights. The COVID pandemic’s residual requirements and effects on farm family health have left us with additional thoughts about how to deal with emergencies and how to practice all levels of safety at work. With that in mind, it’s a good time to review some of the most important safety issues facing swine producers. The various stages of swine production produce different kinds of safety issues, including health challenges to both pig and caretaker. ZOONOTIC DISEASES A zoonotic disease is one which can pass from animal to human or vice versa. A common example in cattle and small ruminants is ringworm, the skin fungus which spreads easily. Whi

PRRSV 144 L1C: A Rapid Response to a National Crisis

Reprinted as posted on Swine in Minnesota blog . Adopted from October 22, 2021 Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project Friday rubric Pipestone Research, in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., did rapid response research to bring science-based answers to managing the emergence of PRRSV 144. Based on field observations from both producers and practitioners, the Pipestone Research team was hearing comments such as, “This is the worst strain of PRRSV ever,” “Vaccines don’t work anymore”, and “Biosecurity protocols are ineffective,”. This panic encouraged the team to use science to get answers to these concerns. Continue reading on the Swine in Minnesota blog.

Keeping PRRS 1-4-4 Out of Sow Herds: a podcast

The emergence of PRRS 1-4-4 has increased the risks of breaks in sow herds. The “At The Meeting...Honoring Dr. Bob Morrison” podcast crew made up of Dr. Montserrat Torremorell (College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota), Dr. Gordon Spronk (Pipestone Veterinary Services), and Dr. Tom Wetzell (Swine Veterinary Consultant) recently talked with Dr. Karyn Havas (Pipestone Research) and Mariana Kikuti (University of Minnesota) to discuss what producers can do to reduce the threat of PRRS 1-4-4. Listen to the podcast . The podcast was recorded in collaboration with SwineCast .

Funds available to improve safety on MN farms

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has two programs that Minnesota farmers can apply for funding to help with the cost of buying, shipping and installing eligible safety equipment. For more information, visit: Grain Storage Facility Safety Cost-Share Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) Rebate

Swine & U Column: Food Supply Chain and Waste in Climate Mitigation

By Gerald Shurson, Zhengia Dou, David Gallagan, and Allison Thomson Originally printed in The LAND - as September 17/September 24, 2021 Swine & U column The food supply chain in the United States has been actively partnering with farmers and ranchers to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural operations in the United States over the past 15 years. Food supply chains from the field to the plate are complex, with many different arrangements ranging from direct contracts between growers and food brands common in specialty crops, to the large-scale commingling of commodity grains used in food, feed and fuel that makes traceability of food products back to an individual farm challenging. The private sector has been taking on this challenge in order to meet environmental commitments, including corporate objectives and science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increase soil carbon sequestration, and improve soil health. Commitments to reducing emissions from

Organic swine research set to continue at WCROC

Dr. Yuzhi Li, Associate Professor of Swine Behavior and Welfare at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), has recently been awarded funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), to evaluate the use of small grain crops, such as hybrid rye, in an effort to reduce feed and bedding costs associated with organic pig production. Continue to read about this NIFA funded project.

Farm & rural stress resources

Farming can be a stressful occupation. As harvest comes to a close it is important for farmers to take care of themselves and their families. Minnesota has numerous resources to help with those coping with farm and rural stress. Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline Phone: 833-600-2670 for a 24/7 confidential and free chat with trained staff and volunteers Text: FARMSTRESS to 898211 Email: Minnesota also has two Rural Mental Health Counselors who work with farmers throughout Minnesota. No cost and no paperwork! Ted Matthews: 320-266-2390 Monica McConkey: 218-280-7785 The University of Minnesota Extension’s Farm and Rural Stress programs offer resources for those dealing with farming’s current challenges and struggles.

PQA & TQA Certification

There are two more in-person Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) and Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) certification sessions left in our 2021 schedule and the 2022 schedule is already out too. Upcoming certification sessions include the following dates and locations: Nov. 18 - Stewartville, MN - American Legion Post 164, 1100 2nd Ave NW Dec. 2 - Mankato, MN - Minnesota Pork Board Office, 151 Saint Andrews Ct. Ste. 810 Jan. 25 - Marshall, MN - AmericInn, 1406 E Lyon St. PQA+ certification is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon and TQA from 1 to 4 p.m. at all locations unless noted otherwise. Information for all PQA+ and TQA certification sessions scheduled for 2021 & 2022 can be found on UMN Extension webpage under courses and events and searching for ‘PQA’ or ‘TQA’. Information can also be found on MN Pork Board's website ( ). Pre-registration is needed by contacting Colleen at Minnesota Pork Board at or call 1-800-537-7675. PQA+ and TQA cert

Recently published

Congratulations to the following swine faculty and educators from the Swine Extension Team who have had their work published recently. de Lara, A. C., Garrido-Mantilla, J., Lopez-Moreno, G., Yang, M. Barcellos, D. E. S. N., & Torremorell, M. (2021). Effect of pooling udder skin wipes on the detection of influenza A virus in preweaning pigs. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 10406387211039462. https://doi.10.1177/1040638721139462 . Holtkamp, D. J., Torremorell, M., Corzo, C. A. , Linhares, D. C. L., Almeida, M. N., Yeske, P., Plson, D. D., Becton, L., Snel-Son, H., Donovan, T., Pittman, J., Johnson, C., Vilalta, C., Silva, G. S., & Sanhueza, J. (2021) Proposed modifications to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus herd classification. Journal of Swine Health and Production, 29(5), 261-270. Li, Y., Cui, S. Q., Baidoo, S. K., & Johnston, L. J. (2021). Evaluation of Sow Caliper for body condition measurement of gestating sows. Journal of Swine Heal

Episode 27: Trucker biosecurity and communication

  In the podcast Swine Extension Educator Sarah Schieck Boelke speaks with Kaitlyn St. Charles with the Secure Food Systems team at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine about the results of a survey on trucker biosecurity and communication she worked on that was aimed at pig haulers. Listen to the podcast:   (recorded November 10, 2021)