Each year the Minnesota Pork Board research committee sets research priorities and sends out a request for proposal for research projects to fund. Funding is limited to $50,000 per one-year proposal. Multiple year projects can be submitted with the understanding that they will resubmit each additional year.
Request for proposals will be sent in October and selection of projects will be determined by March the following year.
2018 Research Priorities
I. Impact of Water Quality on Nursery Performance
Water is an essential nutrient, yet limited information is available on the impact of water quality on nursery pigs. Research showing the impact of high levels of specific minerals, TDS, or bacteria is needed. This research should demonstrate the impact of water quality on animal performance, gut health, and livability. Multiple research projects which demonstrate each “commonly found” mineral alone and in combination is desired. The effect of Biofilms in water lines on the efficiency of vaccines and medications is largely unknown. The focus is not for water treatment, filtering or purification. Secondary objectives may include those treatments but should not be the focus.
II. Transition Phase Requirements and Management Practices on Sow Productivity
There is mounting evidence to suggest that more research is needed to better understand transition practices that may impact sow performance. Such as the use of DCAD (Dietary Cation-Anion Difference) balance in Dairy nutrition to improve milk yield and reduce stillborns but not done in sows, the increased prolificacy in modern sows without increased or changing management practices or requirements, and the 2012 NRC that models the changes in sow nutritional requirements throughout gestation. Furthermore, genetic companies in EU have published specific recommendations during transitional periods but have little to no research supporting the claims.
Submitted proposals must bring fundamental knowledge and application to improve the transition phase and productivity in sows. Achievement of these priorities will require a variety of disciplines including but not limited to nutrition, nutritional physiology, biochemistry, immunology, mathematical modeling, ingredient chemistry, and production. Proposals utilizing a multidisciplinary approach are highly encouraged. Proposals must show evidence of sufficient statistical power in relation to primary project objectives, clearly define the role of the study in meeting the objective to improve sow productivity by providing updated requirements or new production practices during transition periods.
Research projects are encouraged in the following areas:
- Incorporation or evaluation of dairy cow nutrition and management practices in modern sows including but not limited to: Transition diet between gestation and lactation, top dress ingredients or program, evaluation of DCAD management, etc.
- Improved or novel production practices during transition phases
- Optimal feeding strategies during the different periods of a sow’s reproductive cycle that may include; multiple phase gestation diet program, gestation to lactation transition phase diet, lactation to gestation flushing diet.
III. Animal Health
1.Investigations into biosecurity measures, strategies and risks to prevent introduction (bioexclusion) and/or spread (biocontainment) of pathogens from swine farms or first points of concentration (i.e. sow buying stations, slaughter plants, etc)
2.Investigations into strategies and approaches to predict and prevent new disease infections with direct benefit to Minnesota producers
3. Investigations into the transmission, control, and prevention of endemic diseases (i.e. PRRS, flu, Mycoplasma)
4.Investigations into risk of gilts and protocols for gilt acclimatization for endemic diseases
2014 Research Projects
- Evaluation of the impact of immunity on the occurrence of influenza infections in an endemically infected wean-to-finish pig population- Dr. Montserrat Torremorell
- Impact of reduced-oil DDGS, dietary energy system, and wheat midds in growing-finishing pig diets on growth performance and pork fat quality- Dr. Jerry Shurson
- Characterization of the colonization pattern and clinical presentation of Mycoplasma hyosynoviae – a longitudinal study- Dr. Maria Pieters
- Use of comparative genomics to identify molecular epidemiological and serological targets for Mycoplasma hyasynoviae- Dr. Michael Calcutt
- Performance response of growing-finishing pigs to an air-cooled environment during a simulated hot weather growth period- Dr. Larry Jacobson
- Effects of phase feeding gestating and lactating sows on reproduction performance, piglet robustness at birth and post-weaning-Dr. Samuel Baidoo
2013 Research Project Results
Frequency and genetic diversity of airborne influenza virus in a high dense pig region of Minnesota
Dr. Montserrat Torremorell, University of Minnesota
Influenza A virus (IAV) can be found in aerosols from infected pigs and airborne transmission of IAV between herds is suspected. The objective of this study was to determine the frequency and genetic diversity of airborne IAV in high pig density areas of Minnesota. Multiple regions were selected and sampled at different time periods during fall, winter and spring of 2012 and 2014. Sampling locations were selected because of their proximity to multiple finishing locations and because the areas were considered of high pig density. A total of 541 air samples were collected using an air cyclonic collector previously validated to detect IAV from air samples in swine barns. After collection and processing, samples were tested using a quantitative RT-PCR to detect IAV matrix gene. None of the air samples tested positive and only one had a suspect value, despite the fact that samples from pigs in one system tested positive. Therefore based on these results and under the conditions of this study, regional dissemination of IAV through the air seems unlikely. Download Full Report of: Frequency and genetic diversity of airborne influenza virus in a high dense pig region of Minnesota
Effect of diet composition and particle size on nutrient excretion of finishing pigs and the propensity to cause manure pit foaming
Gerald C. Shurson, University of Minnesota
Manure pit foaming on commercial swine farms has been a significant problem in recent years. We hypothesize that dietary changes in fiber fermentability and lipid composition may alter manure chemical composition resulting in a greater risk of manure foaming due to methane production and foam stabilization from undigested lipids in anaerobic manure pits. The objective of this experiment was to measure nutrient excretion and manure foaming capability (MFC) of pigs fed 3 diets differing in the source and amount of neutral detergent fiber (NDF; % DM) and ether extract (EE; % DM) when ground to 2 particle sizes. Two groups of 24 growing gilts (initial BW =119.5 ± 8.9 kg) were placed into metabolism crates and randomly allotted to 1 of 6 diets (4 replicates/treatment/group). Dietary treatments consisted of 1) corn-soybean meal (7.2% NDF, 4.6% EE; CSB), 2) CSB + 35% DDGS (13.7% NDF, 6.2% EE; DDGS), and 3) CSB + 21% soybean hulls (20.0% NDF, 6.8% EE; SBH). Diets were ground to a mean particle size of 374 ± 29 µm (fine) or 631 ± 35 µm (coarse) and fed for 7 weeks. Excretion of DM, NDF, and EE were measured after total feces and urine were collected from d-21 to d-24. Except for d 21 to 24, all other feces and urine were collected and mixed daily and stored in simulated deep pit storage tanks. The MFC of each manure sample was measured in duplicate in the laboratory using a column and injecting nitrogen to stimulate foam production. Data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS, with individual pig as a random effect and diet composition, particle size, and their interaction as fixed effects. There was a diet composition × particle size interaction for MFC (P < 0.05). Greater (P < 0.05) MFC was observed for pigs fed coarse SBH compared with fine CSB and SBH, but not for fine or coarse DDGS. There was no diet composition × particle size interaction for excretion of DM, NDF, or EE. Excretion of DM and NDF were greater (P < 0.05) in pigs fed DDGS and SBH than in pigs fed CSB. Excretion of EE was greater (P < 0.01) for pigs fed DDGS than CSB or SBH. Excretion of DM, NDF, and EE was greater (P < 0.05) for coarse compared to fine diets regardless of the fiber composition. These results indicate that fiber composition in soybean hulls has a greater impact on MFC than the fiber composition in DDGS, and larger diet particle size reduces DM, NDF, and EE digestibility causing increased content in manure and MFC. Download Full Report: Effect of diet composition and particle size on nutrient excretion of finishing pigs and the propensity to cause manure pit foaming
Investigating the epidemiology of Mycoplasma hyorhinis in sow farms
Dr. Maria Pieters, University of Minnesota
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyopneumoniae) and M. hyorhinis are important microorganisms affecting swine. M. hyopneumoniae causes chronic respiratory infections in pigs which generate significant losses to the swine industry. M. hyorhinis is a colonizer of the upper respiratory tract of the pig which can cause arthritis and polyserositis after weaning age, and can be commonly identified in pneumonic cases. Frequently, M. hyopneumoniae and M. hyorhinis are identified in the same pig, suggesting that a colonization relationship between these two microorganisms may exist. However, the epidemiology of these bacteria does not appear to be similar in the field. The level of piglet colonization with M. hyopneumoniae at weaning age has been suggested as a predictor of disease presentation in grower and finisher pigs, while M. hyorhinis piglet colonization at weaning does not seems to have a strong influence in post weaning transmission. Thus, we aimed at investigating the nasal swab colonization of dams and piglets with M. hyopneumoniae and M. hyorhinis in commercial sow farms, and to investigate their relationship with several environmental, farm and piglet factors. DNA was obtained from a set of nasal swabs collected from dams in piglets in 4 commercial sow farms and was tested for detection of M. hyorhinis with a species specific real time PCR. All samples were previously tested for detection of M. hyopneumoniae genetic material. A logistic mixed model was used to test for the association of various factors with the risk of piglet PCR positivity to M. hyorhinis at weaning age. Also, the association between the two pathogens was evaluated. The prevalence of M. hyorhinis in dams and piglets was low in all farms studied. No association between M. hyorhinis positivity and environmental, farm and piglet factors was observed. The relationship between the two pathogens was not significant. Under the conditions of this study, M. hyopneumoniae and M. hyorhinis colonization at weaning does not seem to be associated, although they could be associated at later production stages. Download Full Report Investigating the epidemiology of Mycoplasma hyorhinis in sow farms
Impact of reduced-oil DDGS, dietary energy system, and wheat midds in growing-finishing pig diets on growth performance and pork fat quality
Gerald C. Shurson, University of Minnesota
Progress Toward Objectives:
This project involved 3 experiments designed to meet the objectives described previously.
Activities for each experiments were divided into preparation, feeding, carcass data collection, sample chemical analysis, data analysis, and report writing.
Experiment 1. Validation of ME prediction equations and the impact of feeding diets containing corn DDGS with variable oil content on growth performance, carcass composition, and pork fat quality of growing-finishing pigs. We completed the animal feeding, carcass sample collection, and data analyses. Currently, we are writing a manuscript for publication. Results from Exp.1 were reported in Interim Research Report submitted on November 27, 2013.
Experiment 2. Impact of feeding DDGS with variable NE content on growth performance and carcass quality of growing-finishing pigs, and evaluation and development of NE prediction equations. We have completed animal feeding, carcass sample collection, and data analysis. Currently, we are writing a manuscript for publication. In addition to the original objectives, we conducted additional evaluations to: 1) Determine the NE content of DDGS sources and evaluate published NE prediction equations, and 2) Determine the back iodine value (IV) of pigs fed 8 different diets and evaluate published backfat IV prediction equations.
Experiment 3. Impact of feeding DDGS and wheat middlings on growth performance and carcass composition of growing-finishing pigs. The animal feeding trial was completed on November 19th, 2014, and ultrasound data for carcass composition are currently being summarized and statistically analyzed.