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Showing posts from January, 2024

Research spotlight - A diagnostic approach to confirm Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae “Day Zero” for pathogen eradication

Reprinted as posted on Swine in Minnesota blog December 5, 2023 A recent study led by MycoLab researchers takes new steps to eliminating Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyopneumoniae), a bacterium that causes respiratory illness in pigs. M. hyopneumoniae is one of the most significant bacterial swine pathogens worldwide, impacting animal welfare and causing significant economic losses for the swine industry. The findings from this study demonstrate a diagnostic strategy aimed at helping to eliminate the pathogen from individual herds—and eventually, to eradicate it altogether. Continue to read about this research on the Swine in Minnesota blog post.

Research spotlight - 2023 update from WCROC

The West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) swine group has had a busy year pursuing research projects funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Topic areas include tail biting, hybrid rye and developing an educational curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students. Read more about the NIFA sponsored projects being done in Morris, MN at the WCROC.

Register for 2024 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. The first session is scheduled for February 7 so don’t hesitate to register. Learn more about the program and register.

Swine & U column:  Swine influenza research continues

By Diane DeWitte, UMN Extension swine educator Originally printed in The LAND - as December 22, 2023 Swine & U column Winter has arrived and we have seasonal disease concerns, both in the pig barn and with the caretakers. For the past three years we have been immersed in learning all we can about COVID-19, but the usual winter worries on the pig farm always include Swine Influenza Virus (SIV). Swine Influenza Virus can be simply referred to as the flu, but there’s nothing simple about it in the herd. Prior to COVID-19, the 2009 H1N1 (“swine flu”) pandemic was the worst human flu attack since 1918, and because its origins were a reassortment of human, bird and swine flu viruses, much research has occurred in the ensuing years to better understand flu in pigs and people. Influenza in Pigs Swine influenza virus is present in most swine herds across the country, and it appears to be a disease that many farms constantly live with. It’s a respiratory disease which affects all stages

Swine & U column:  Building understanding and vocabulary for sustainability journeys

By Erin Cortus, UMN Extension engineer Originally printed in The LAND - as January 5, 2024 Swine & U column The term sustainability is ubiquitous in modern agriculture, perhaps ad nauseam . While the common desire is to be infinite – as one farmer suggested as a replacement for sustainability – this presents different challenges through the supply chain. The demands look and feel different on and off the farm. Sustainability can become contentious when definitions of sustainability do not align because of different perspectives (e.g., global versus local), or different priorities for action. However, simply joining or starting sustainability conversations is needed more than ever. Sustainability, as a science, carries a vocabulary that can be daunting. However, there are some assumptions and analogies that I find useful as a starting point for discussions on and off farm. Assumptions are ideas we accept as true, without firm proof. I continually check these assumptions – and I enc

Women in Ag Network Conference

This year’s conference will be held on Tuesday, February 6 from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Holiday Inn & Suites, St. Cloud, MN. This year’s theme is “Planting Possibilities: Shaping the Future of Farming” and brings a variety of speakers and topics from whom participants will learn about the topic of “planning”. Planning on the farm takes many forms and requires a variety of skills. Planning is something women are leading or involved with on the farm or in their work in the various ag sectors that support the farming industry. Pre-registration through January 22 is $75 with a special rate of $20 for students. Registration after January 22 is $95. Visit the conference website for more information and to register. Event contacts are Susanne Hinrichs ( or 218-828-2274) or Elaine Hardy ( or 218-828-2276).

MN Pork Congress - February 13 & 14

MN Pork Congress is scheduled for February 13 & 14 at the Mayo Event Center in Mankato, MN. The University of Minnesota will have a booth staffed with UMN swine group members. Be sure to stop by and visit with individuals from the UMN swine group about current research and other swine-related happenings. Check out more information, including how to register for MN Pork Congress.

MDA announces additional farmland succession support

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has a new position to provide assistance to farmers and agricultural landowners in creating succession plans for their properties. Jim Molenaar is the newly hired farmland access and succession teams coordinator where he will guide farmers and ag landowners through the succession process. Molenaar’s contact information, as well as further details about the MDA’s other land access and succession tools, can be found on the MDA agency website .

PQA & TQA certification

The Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) and Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) certification session schedule has not been finalized yet. When it does get finalized you can find scheduled sessions in the following locations: UMN Extension swine course offerings webpage MN Pork Board’s website National Pork Board’s website If you need to renew your PQA+ or TQA certification and can’t wait for the schedule, or if your farm has a large group of employees needing certification, please contact Colleen Carey at Minnesota Pork Board office at 507-345-8814 or to schedule an alternative time for a training. Classes are provided by the University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Pork Board. PQA+ and TQA certification can be completed online in a self-paced course too. Your UMN Swine Extension Educators Sarah Schieck Boelke and Diane DeWitte can assist you in gaining access to online training for PQA+ and TQA. Diane DeWitte - or 507-384-1745 Sarah Schieck

Recently published

Congratulations to the following swine faculty and educators from the swine Extension team who have had their work published recently. Archer, C., Hilbrands, A., Johnston, L. J. , Mote, B. E., Schmidt, T. B., & Li, Y. Z. (2023). 182 Influence of Group Size on Performance and Tail Damage Coused by Tail Biting in Undocked Growing-Finishing Pigs. Journal of Animal Science, 101(supplement 2), 4-5. Doi: 10.1093/jas/skad341.004 Clarke, A. S., Faulk, C., Shurson, G. C. , Gallaher, D. D., & Johnston, L. J. (2023). Evaluation of Feeding Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB) to Mouse Dams during Gestation on Birth Weight and Growth Variation of Offspring . Animals, 13(20), 3227. Doi: 10.3390/ani13203227. Hammers, K. L., Law, K., Urriola, P. E. , Gomez, A., & Johnston, L. J. (2023). Effect of Water Delivery System on Intestinal Microbial Populations of Nursery Pigs. Journal of Animal Science, 101(supplement 2), 304-305. Doi: 10.1093/jas/skad341.346. Hammers, K. L., Urriola, P. E.

Episode 38: PRRS farm surface contamination assessment through environmental sampling

In the podcast, Swine Extension Educator Sarah Schieck Boelke speaks with Ph.D. student Marcello Melini about his research on environmental sampling of farm surfaces to assess contamination of PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome) virus at various places both in and outside the barn. Listen to the podcast:   (recorded December 27, 2023)