Getting More Nutrients From A Pig’s Diet

I caught up with Aidan Connolly, vice president of corporate accounts with Alltech, recently while he was in Des Moines, Iowa for the 25th Anniversary of the World Pork Expo. I peppered him with questions from feed prices to the importance of nutrients in the diet to some of the diseases the pork industry is addressing and got the low down on some key issues affecting hog producers across the U.S. and the globe.

wpx13-alltech-connollyThe interview was kicked off with concerns about this year’s harvest – too much rain in the Midwest has caused many farmers to be quite late in planting – and how this might affect feed prices. Connolly explained that many things affect feed prices, but mainly it comes down to supply and demand. He believes the demand side will stay very strong and foresees continued growth in China. However, Connolly said from his view, he remains optimistic about the harvest.

He stressed the important of getting the nutrients out of the diet. He believes the industry needs to be very concerned about intestinal health, gut health – the need to keep the pig healthy. “We need to be looking at any technologies that can improve feed efficiency.”

Alltech has products to help just this, including various enzymes and Actigen™. They are also working with antioxidants – all things Connolly said help the pig absorb nutrients better. “Basically I would say to any hog producer today, spend the money to improve feed conversion. It’s money well spent.”

Listen to my interview with Aidan Connolly here: Getting More Nutrients From A Pig's Diet

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Vaccinator Helps Pigs Drink to Health

wpx13-bivi-pump2Our two sponsors for World Pork Expo this year were both advocating the delivery of some of their animal health products to swine by injecting them into the water supply. For Novus, it was organic acids for improved gut health and for Boehringer Ingelheim it was the easy administration of oral vaccinations.

In both instances, however, it is important to make sure the proper amount of the product is added to the water supply during a certain time frame to ensure that all the pigs get the proper dosage. That’s where the Stenner Vaccinator Pump comes in and I talked with Jesse McCoy, Water Quality division manager for Ivesco Technical Services, about it.

wpx13-bivi-jesse“This pump makes oral vaccination or supplement addition easier and that’s the whole goal,” Jesse said. “The idea behind the pump was have a fixed vaccine amount and run it over the six hours that all the data shows every pig’s going to get a dose.” The pump also takes out the variables of time of day and weather allowing producers much more flexibility.

Jesse says Ivesco not only sells the pumps, they actually helped develop the unique product. “It’s been a really great collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim‘s team, Stenner’s team and Ivesco’s team to bring it to the market,” he said, noting that they had great response to the product at the expo.

Find out more in this interview with Jesse: Interview with Ivesco's Jesse McCoy

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Blueprint for Easy from BIVI

wpx13-bivi-gregVaccinating pigs against disease can be a time-consuming, back-straining process for humans and an unpleasant experience for the swine – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Oral vaccines pamper people and they also pamper pigs,” Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (BIVI) Technical Manager Dr. Greg Cline said during an event at World Pork Expo last week. “It certainly is a lot easier to vaccinate a group of pigs through the water supply system than it is to go through and restrain the pigs and inject them.”

wpx13-bivi-blueprintDr. Cline explained how producers can administer several vaccines at the same time by water. “We have a license for the concurrent use of Enterisol Ileitis, Enterisol SC-54 and Ingelvac ERY-ALC,” he said. “So we’ve got an opportunity to have both ease of administration and add those vaccines together and get multiple pathogens at the same time.”

BI offers an oral vaccination learning program and producers can find out more through their local veterinarian or BIVI representative.

Listen to my interview with Greg here: Interview with BIVI's Greg Cline

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Novus Promotes Water-Delivered Organic Acids

wpx13-novus-leheWe’ve all seen and many of us drink the popular types of vitamin- and mineral-enhanced water products on the market for humans. Now Novus International is promoting water-soluable organic acids to enhance pig performance.

At World Pork Expo last week, Novus Technical Services Manager Dr. Karen Lehe gave a talk on adding the Aliment-based Activate WD US Max to drinking water for pigs and how studies have shown benefits from improved gut health and lowering water pH. “With piglets, especially in herds that are challenged with E. Coli or salmonella that we do have a nice benefit in terms of reduction of medication costs in the nursery period, from 74 cents to 17 cents (per head),” she said, adding that it also improves feed efficiency.

Alimet is commonly used as a feed additive, but Dr. Lehe says adding to water may make it easier and the animals like it. “To us it smells a little bit acidic, but to the little pigs it smells yummy,” she said. Novus has also studied the water-delivery with sows and seen benefits in lactation and heavier weaned pig weights.

Listen to my interview with Karen and/or watch a video of his presentation below: Interview with Novus' Karen Lehe

2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Benefits of Mintrex Cu on Pigs & Mode of Action

Mintrex Cu (copper) has benefits on pigs and mode of action.

Yulin Ma NovusDr. Yulin Ma, who works on Novus International’s research and development team, gave a presentation during the 25th Anniversary of the World Pork Expo about seven trials pertaining to the company’s new product Mintrex Cu. Ma explained that when adding the product to premix, the copper sulfate helped the pig digest more of the feed. The product also showed that it reduces fecal excretion of copper, which is better for the environment, and improved carcass weight – where the real payback occurs says Ma.

Ma, whose excitement about the product was evident in his presentation, explained that Mintrex Cu has higher mineral digestibility than inorganic sources and thus helps improve immune function – a healthier pig means less antibiotics. The product also improves feed intake and performance. Ma says Mintrex Cu is really a triple threat and for farmers who understand the value of the product, the payback will be threefold.

Listen to my interview with Yulin Ma here and/or watch a video of his presentation below. Benefits of Mintrex Cu on Pigs & Mode of Action

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Hogtoberfeast Was a Feast

HogtoberfestOne of the most anticipated events during the World Pork Expo each year is the hog roast sponsored by Automated Production Systems. It seems each year the event gets bigger and this year was no exception. The theme “Hogtoberfeast” was celebrated in true German style from the decoration of the pig to the costumes and accents of those who participated in the Hogtoberfeast opening celebration.

There was singing and dancing and even audience participation. And then when that was over, the hog was carved and the feast began. And boy was it good! I caught some of the festivities on camera. I wonder what they will do next year? This will be a hard act to follow.

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

The Infection Chain of Swine Diseases

wpx13-bivi-payneWe first heard about the Infection Chain concept in managing swine disease from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (BIVI) back in March at American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting. We learned more about it during World Pork Expo.

“BI is very dedicated to understanding the diseases overall,” explained Swine Technical Manager Brian Payne. “We’ve done a great job with the PRRS infection chain, we’re in the middle of many studies with the mycoplasma infection chain, and we’re starting PCV2 infection chain studies.” Interview with BIVI's Brian Payne

wpx13-bivi-fanoDr. Eduardo Fano, BIVI’s technical manager for the Americas, talked about the importance of understanding the infection chain for mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, also referred to as M-hyo or MHP. “If you understand that the first link of the infection is the gilt, the second is the sow herd and the last one is what we see clinically in finishing, it’s easy to understand the links of the prevention chain that you can work,” he said. Interview with BIVI's Eduardo Fano

wpx13-bivi-baumertDr. Dave Baumert, staff veterinarian for Cargill Pork, provided a case study on his experience with how the infection chain works. “To me the infection chain refers to the movement of infectious disease down through the production flow,” he said. “As pigs are moved, infectious disease if it’s present will move with them.”

His case study involved the purchase of gilts just discovered to be positive for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae. “We chose to keep those gilts because we thought they added some real value to our system,” said Dr. Baumert. “What we didn’t completely understand at the time was that when we kept those gilts we were also keeping the start of the mycoplasma disease chain.”

Ultimately, Dr. Baumert says the decision to keep those gilts which set off the infection chain in that herd was a costly one but they learned from it. Interview with Cargill Pork Staff Vet Dr. Dave Baumert

2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Novus Goes Whole Hog for WPX

wpx13-novus-groupAs has become the tradition at World Pork Expo, Novus International once again offered a whole, tender, juicy roasted hog for expo goers during the Thursday afternoon street party.

This year the Novus theme was “More Than A Mineral Happy Hour” in honor of Mintrex, the next-generation trace mineral that has its own official ingredient definition by the Association of American Feed Council Officials (AAFCO). Mintrex is no ordinary trace mineral, it’s BioOptimized, which means it is highly bioavailable to efficiently supply more mineral to the animal. For hog producers, Mintrex can help manage sow stress, balance seasonal peaks and valleys in production and support sow health and ultimately allow herds to reach their genetic potential. Just one of the many ways Novus goes whole hog for producers!

See more photos in the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

National Pork Board Provides PEDV Research Funds

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) was a big topic of discussion at the World Pork Expo this past week and the National Pork Board announced the investment of $450,000 in Checkoff funds to help speed research into finding answers to this new disease threat facing the domestic pork industry. This amount, coupled with funds just approved by the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s research committee, brings the current total devoted to PEDV research to $527,000 from the two producer-based organizations.

wpx13-npb-sundbergDr. Paul Sundberg, the Pork Checkoff’s vice president of science and technology, gave an update on the disease – which was first confirmed in the U.S. last month. “It’s changing everyday as we go,” he said. “We don’t have hard numbers because any number I give you would be out of date as soon as we walk out of here. What we know is that it’s primarily centered in the Midwest right now and we’re monitoring the distribution as we go to try to figure out how to help producers and veterinarians get on top of this.”

PEDV was first confirmed in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois but cases are being reported in several other states including Colorado, Oklahoma, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. Dr. Sundberg notes that PEDV is not a new virus outside of the United States nor a regulatory/reportable disease, but rather a production-related disease that hits young pigs under three weeks of age particularly hard. Mortality rates have been high in pigs of this age, while older pigs that may get the virus typically recover.

“While PEDV may appear clinically to be the same as transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus with acute diarrhea, producers who suspect their herd may be infected should work with their herd veterinarian immediately if any TGE-like symptoms appear,” said Sundberg. “And, as always, they should maintain strict biosecurity protocols.”

The objectives of the Pork Board’s swine health committee, which will oversee the PEDV research, will be to get real answers about the spread and transmission of the disease, along with measures to detect, diagnose, prevent and control it.

Listen to Sunberg’s comments here: Dr. Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

GIPSA: Farm Bill, Price Concerns Key Issues

Larry Mitchell, USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA) wpx13-GIPSAadminister, along with Deputy Administrator Susan Keith, spent the day at the 25th anniversary of the World Pork Expo. While attending the event, the two took some time for an answer and question session to give the pork industry and update on close term challenges and opportunities.

The biggest challenge not only for pork producers but agriculture in general, said Mitchell, is the passage of a farm bill. The Senate version (and House version) of Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 has hundreds of amendments that if passed, or not, could affect agriculture. As of this writing, the Senate voted for cloture and will be voting on the bill on Monday.

In addition to the need for a long-term farm bill, Keith said another key issue is price concerns for independent food producers in the U.S. This, she said, on the swine side is one of their biggest concerns because with a very thin market it’s really hard to assure there is a legitimate price discovery and ensuring that the prices that become part of a contract are fair and determined in a manner that is justified.

GIPSA Update: Farm Bill, Price Concerns Key Issues

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Pork Industry Economic Update at World Pork Expo

The economist to the pork industry Steve Meyer, with Paragon Economics, gave attendees at the 25 anniversary of the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa an economic update. wpx13-paragon-meyerDuring a question and answer session Meyer noted that the industry finally has prices back to profitable for the short run, the first time in nearly two years. However, he doesn’t believe this will last unless there is a very, very good corn crop, which he says looks doubtful at this point due to all the rain.

Meyer said with a good corn crop, somewhere in the 140 bushels per acre range, he thinks the industry could see prices in the low $80s next spring. If this is the case, then the industry is set up for a profitable 2014.

During the session, Meyer addressed the possible effects of exchange rates and feedstock costs to operations as well as the impact of last summer’s drought. But he noted that producers are still doing fairly well due to better risk management techniques over the past three-four years.

Listen to Steve Meyer’s remarks here: Pork Industry Economic Update

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Improving Digestibility Can Reduce Feed Costs

wpx13-novus-escobarApplying nutrient digestibility concepts and the use of certain enzymes can help hog producers reduce waste and lower feed costs.

Dr. Jeffrey Escobar of Novus International talked about that during a presentation at World Pork Expo this week, explaining the benefits of their feed additive Cibenza DP100. “It’s a heat-stable protease … that will digest proteins to release amino acids,” he explains. “So what Cibenza DP100 will do is help the enzymes already present in the pig and increase the digestibility of the proteins present in the feed with a net gain of more amino acids believed delivered to the animal.”

Listen to my interview with Jeffrey and/or watch a video of his presentation below: Interview with Novus' Jeffrey Escobar

2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Meet Kourtney Determan – Up & Coming Aggie

During the 25th Anniversary of World Pork Expo, I had the opportunity to meet one of the up and coming young women in agriculture – Kourtney Determan. She is an Iowa native wpx13-novus-dettermanwho grew up on a farm in Northwest Iowa as well as a recent graduate from Iowa State University with a degree in Ag Communications. In mid-May, she began her summer internship with Novus International where she is working with Dr. Karen Lehe to build out the company’s youth outreach program.

In her role she is helping educate youth across the country about both where our food comes from, as well as about the great jobs in the ag industry. She notes that many think the only job in ag is to be a farmer, but she is proof that there are hundreds of different opportunities to work in the industry.

Before summer is out, she will be bringing more interactivity to Novus’ FREE youth curriculum that includes a brochure as well as a game developed for iPad that demonstrates the diversity of the ag industry. The toolkit also includes videos, word searchers, and more. Having grown up in the age of social media, she notes that online is the best way to reach these kids.

Learn more about Kourtney’s work with the youth outreach program here: Meet Kourtney Determan - Up & Coming Aggie

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

NPPC Science & Technology Updates at WPX

This morning, Bill Luckey, pork producer from Columbus, Nebraska and National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) director gave an update during the second day of 2013 World Pork Expo on science and technology updates including antibiotics and animal welfare.

wpx13-nppc-luckeyIn terms of antibiotics, Luckey said NPPC has been actively involved in the Animal Drug User Act. It has moved all the way through Congress and has passed both the House and the Senate with no amendments. The Act provides funding for the timely review of the new animal drug applications for the veterinary products.

On the regulatory front Luckey said there are some issues going on with antibiotic availability and veterinary oversight. The industry is waiting for the FDA to finalize the guidance for 2013, which requests that animal health manufacturers voluntarily give up their growth hormone promotion labels for antibiotics for classes that are also used for human medicine.

Listen to Bill Luckey’s remarks here: NPPC Science & Technology Update

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Summer Pork Campaign

wpx13-npb-novakAt World Pork Expo this week, National Pork Board officials unveiled a new summer campaign for consumers to encourage them to save with pork cuts, grill them like steak, and learn some new names for pork cuts.

“The current consumer campaign, Pork. Be inspired®, is moving product at the retail meat case and in restaurants,” says Chris Novak, National Pork Board CEO. “In the first quarter of this year, total pounds of pork sold at retail were up 9.9 percent over first quarter last year and total dollars in sales were up 4.7 percent. Average retail price was down due to higher supplies, but the increased volume more than offset the decrease in average price.”

wpx13-npb-prezTo further bolster consumer demand, a new summer marketing campaign was launched this week to communicate the current relative value of pork, educate consumers on the new pork cut names and reinforce proper pork cooking by talking about the ideal range of doneness.

In April, the National Pork Board rolled out new names for some traditional cuts of pork as a way to address the lack of consumer understanding of pork cuts and how to prepare them.

Based on extensive consumer research, the new cut names were selected to enhance value in the meat cuts and new simplified labels were developed to better explain proper cooking techniques.

“This does mean we’ll have to say goodbye to names like ‘pork butt’,” says Karen Richter, National Pork Board president and pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. “But we believe consumers will feel more confident in their ability to choose and prepare pork that provides great flavor and versatility at a budget-friendly price.”

The new porterhouse pork chop, ribeye pork chop and New York pork chop are featured in the summer marketing campaign being promoted through national radio and online advertising, food media spokespersons and social media engagement. As a part of the campaign, consumers will be able to tap into online coupons that have proven effective in driving visitor traffic to pork-focused consumer websites.

Listen to comments from Richter and Novak here: Pork Board New Campaign

2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

EPA Private Data Release Peeves Pork Producers

The Environmental Protection Agency is now being accused of giving preference to liberal groups over conservatives when it comes to freedom of information act requests, specifically groups like the Sierra Club which received the personal information of thousands of livestock producers earlier this year. That EPA information release was a topic of discussion at World Pork Expo this week and National Pork Producers Council environmental counsel Michael Formica says they are still unhappy with the way the agency handled that situation.

wpx13-nppc-formica“We’re very upset, we remain very upset,” he said in an interview. “Unfortunately, the data is already out there, it’s been released.”

That data includes all kinds of personal information on thousands of producers in 37 states, including names, addresses, phone numbers, family members, property transfers and much more. While the organizations supposedly have “returned” the data sets to EPA, it is very likely that the groups who received it still have it and it could get into the hands of even more radical animal rights organizations like HSUS and the Animal Liberation Front.

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa proposed an amendment to the senate farm bill to prohibit EPA from releasing personal data – and Formica says that was one of a handful of amendments brought up Tuesday when work on the farm bill ground fell apart. Even as the Senate voted today to end debate on the farm bill, clearing way for passage next week, Senate Ag Committee chair Debbie Stabenow says more amendment votes are possible post-cloture.

Listen to Formica’s comments here: Interview with NPPC environmental counsel Michael Formica

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

And This Little Piggy Went to World Pork Expo

Trudys Piggie NailsRemember the nursery rhyme “This little pig went to market. This little pig went home….”? Well, this little pig went to World Pork Expo and had a great time. The coolest and most creative “piggies” at the 25th anniversary of World Pork Expo were found on Trudy’s nails in the Boehringer Ingelheim tent. Her nails support the pork industry in a fun and fabulous way.

Stop by their tent or their booth and while you’re there, learn how “easy” it is to vaccinate your pigs.

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

BIVI Shows What Easy Looks Like

wpx13-bivi-easyEverywhere you look at World Pork Expo you see blue pig snouts touting Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica’s (BIVI) new “Easy” campaign telling hog producers just how simple it can be to protect their herds against countless problems.

“For oral vaccines there’s no needles, all they have to do is drink,” says BIVI brand manager Mike Steilen, adding that it also saves workers time and the discomfort of handling the pigs to give them the vaccines.

wpx13-bivi-steilenTalking with producers at expo, BIVI representatives are stressing the ease of the 3-step preparation and oral administration of the Enterisol Ileitis vaccine by using the Ivesco peristaltic pump technology for injecting vaccine into a water line. “It guarantees the vaccination over a six hour period, which is important…guaranteeing that (the pigs) are going to have a dose,” Mike said.

Producers at WPX can find out more at the BIVI tent on the midway or booth in the Varied Industries Building, and check out the pump at the Ivesco tent on the midway.

Interview with BIVI's Mike Steilen

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

Record Setting WPX Junior National Show

wpx13-kidNothing at World Pork Expo compares with seeing a kid that might weigh all of 30 pounds working to control the movements of a hog that has 200 pounds on him. Precious!

Nearly 900 youngsters and 2500 hogs are signed up for the World Pork Expo Junior National Show this year – three times more than two years ago and a new record. The show kicked off on the first day of expo with the purebred barrow show. The open show, with almost 1,000 hogs entered by 493 exhibitors, will be held on Friday, June 7, with a sale on Saturday, June 8.

It’s a great youth event that really helps kids develop all kinds of skills and it is just so fun to watch!

Check out more fun photos in the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.

USDA’s Alonzo Updates WPX on Key Issues

wpx13-usda-alanzoAnne Alonzo is attending her first World Pork Expo since taking the helm as the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator just over a month ago. During her comments this morning, she said that the USDA is very supportive of the efforts of the pork industry and will continue to work with them on key issues.

There were several items Alonzo said are currently on the radar and gave updates on mandatory price reporting, pork purchases and the Pork Checkoff. She was joined by Dr. Craig Morris, deputy administrator who also addressed compliance issues and said the AMS is very happy with the industry’s response to recent compliance requirements.

While in Iowa, Alonzo said she had the opportunity to visit her first hog operation and became taken with a day old baby pig. She said although she is new to the industry, she looks forward to working with the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and others to ensure the success and growth of the pork industry.

Listen to Alozno’s remarks here: Remarks from USDA's AMS Administrator, Anne Alonzo

Visit the 2013 World Pork Expo photo album.