The NPIC is one of the largest and best annual meetings for pork producers in the world. This year’s conference was held at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. Many Swine Vet Center clients were in attendance as well as a good showing of our SVC veterinarians. It’s nearly impossible to take in all the information present-ed at the meeting but we’d like to share some of our take-home points from the meetings we attended on the first day of the conference.
This year’s conference kicked off with the topic of “Fake Meat” presented by Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a professor at the University of California Davis Department of Animal Science. Dr. Mitloehner’s expertise is in greenhouse gasses and his topic was called “INDUSTRY SUSTAINABILITY AND FAKE MEAT – IMPACT & IMPLICATIONS”. In this, he talked about just how little impact meat production has on greenhouse gasses. So far “lab meats” (muscle fiber that is grown in the lab) are not available and only plant-based products are on the market.
Continuing along similar lines, Rick Berman, Executive Director at the Center for Consumer Freedom presented his topic “Fake Meat – How Do We Respond? Communicating Our Message Effectively”. Mr. Berman discussed his 2 websites http://cleanfoodfacts.com and http://realfoodfacts.com and pointed out the nutritional differences between highly pro-cessed plant-based products and real pork and beef. Dr. Rodger Main, Director at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University gave an update on the NPIP (National Poultry Improvement Council) and presented a case that per-haps pork producers need to look at, which is the poultry model of standing together and achieving a policy that would address biosecurity and developing a plan to combat foreign animal disease.
Ken Sullivan CEO of Smithfield Foods, one of the largest pork pro-ducers in the world, spoke about Smithfield’s position on China and African Swine Fever. He did a very good job of relaying that infor-mation and what their thoughts are on fake meats. He explained how the actual ownership structure worked and said they were sending some carcasses to China— and would love to send more.
In the afternoon, there were numerous breakout sessions. Dr. Tim Loula and Dr. Chris Sievers of Swine Vet Center led a very interactive session where participants got to vote on numerous nursery production procedures.
- Pig comfort was strongly emphasized with special attention focused on keeping the bottom-end pigs warm.
- Cleaning was discussed and how important it was to break up biofilm and degrease. Cleaning waterlines was also stressed.
- How many pigs needed to be pulled and restarted was de-bated with the 3-5% and 6-10% receiving the top votes. This is what the expectation should be when starting pigs.
- There was a good conversation on creep feeding in farrowing and its impact in the nursery.
- Mat feeding was debated with the audience agreeing that doing mat feeding 4 times a day is what works best to cover all pigs.
- Another break-out session focused on pig health and was led by Dr. Joe Connor of Carthage Veterinary Service and Dr. Melissa Hench of Maschhoff Farms. In this session people got to choose the disease they wanted to focus on.
- Of course, African Swine Fever was a hot topic. Clinical signs and symptoms of ASF as well as other diseases that might mimic it were covered.
- PRRS was another topic discussed, in particular the new thought process of keeping the farm open longer and bringing in 4-6 months’ worth of gilts because it’s rare to go negative before that time period. These gilts would be tested with different procedures to determine when to stop their entry. They felt with this method, you could bring in more gilts and still go negative about the same time.
- Cameras were discussed when the topic turned to biosecurity. It was mentioned that cameras could be used to monitor and audit how people and animals enter and exit the barn. When watching the video for major issues, it was surprising to see the number of small mistakes that were made.
Congratulations to the Jack and Lisa May family of Mankato
Congratulations to the Jack and Lisa May family of Mankato on be-ing named as Blue Earth County’s “2019 Farm Family of the Year”. The May family came to the farm in 1865 and the original May land is still a part of Jack and Lisa’s operation. The family’s main crops are corn and soybeans and they also have been contract-finishers with Wakefield Pork since the early 1990’s. The Mays have 3 grown daughters, Kathleen, Michelle and Colleen who give a hand when needed. Jack’s parents, Gene and Pat May, live just down the road— truly a generational farm family! The May family will be officially recognized August 8th in a ceremony at Farmfest in Redwood Falls.
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