Could Choice White Grease now be pricing in at your farm?

Posted on December 1, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Julie Salyer By now, we have all felt the strain of this year's higher grain prices. As prices for corn and soybean meal remain high and uncertainty of futures continues, we are often seeking options for relief.  It is as important as ever to work with your local Vita Plus consultant to constantly explore

Pellets or meal? Which is better?

Posted on October 26, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Julie Salyer Feeding pelleted diets to finishing pigs has been shown to improve feed conversion by 5 to 8 percent. High feed costs have led producers to re-evaluate the economics of feeding pellets in all phases of swine production. Some factors to take into consideration when contemplating whether to pellet swine diets include feed

Not enough tryptophan in the whole, wide world

Posted on October 12, 2012 in Swine Performance

By Al Gunderson and Dr. Dean Koehler

High feed costs combined with a high corn/soybean meal (SBM) price spread have created an interesting situation.  It could be advantageous to reduce SBM levels and feed lower crude protein formulations based on high levels of crystalline amino acids. Crystalline forms of lysine, methionine and threonine are readily available and commonly used in swine diets.  The next limiting amino acid in grow-finish swine diets is tryptophan.  But tryptophan is produced in much smaller quantities.

Managing your nutrition program in challenging times

Posted on September 28, 2012 in Swine Performance
Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater By Nate Brown Potential $40-per-head losses and possible shortages of staple feed ingredients have forced hog producers to ask some very difficult questions. Do you sell hogs at light market weights to conserve feed? Do you feed an array of alternative ingredients to stretch corn and soybean

Aflatoxin: A new/old threat hits the upper Midwest

Posted on September 17, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Dr. Dean Koehler Midwestern crop farmers and livestock producers are familiar with mycotoxins such as zearalenone, deoxynivalenol (also known as DON or vomitoxin), fumonisin and T-2 toxin.  All of these toxins are produced by fusarium molds which are commonly found throughout the Corn Belt.  In some years, they are present in up to 90

A look at this year’s crop

Posted on September 4, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Todd Herrig A couple weeks ago, I attended a local crop tour that covered parts of four counties (Buena Vista, Clay, O’Brien and Cherokee) here in northwest Iowa to try and get a better idea of what we are looking at for yields in this part of the state. Here’s how it worked:  The

Managing drought-damaged corn

Posted on August 20, 2012 in Swine Performance

By Jon Feitz 
The ongoing drought has raised concerns about the potential quality of this year’s corn crop.  A heat-stressed corn crop carries a higher potential for damaged corn kernels.  This, coupled with high moisture content and high temperatures at harvest time, can lead to a higher incidence of molds and the mycotoxins they can produce.  

What are the alternatives to expensive corn and soybean meal?

Posted on August 8, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Dr. Dean Koehler Widespread drought conditions are heightening concerns among swine producers regarding the high cost - and potentially short future availability - of corn and soybean meal.  An old economics adage reminds us that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” In the Midwest, corn and soybeans are king. Changes in their prices affect

Using Stafac® to improve performance in grow-finish pigs during the summer heat

Posted on July 20, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Spencer Jones The heat of the summer makes it extremely difficult to keep pigs performing at an optimal level. Keeping the animal comfortable during periods of high heat is very important to help minimize economic losses. The feed additive virginiamycin, more commonly known as Stafac®, may help grow-finish pigs perform closer to their optimal

Midd I ask you?

Posted on July 9, 2012 in Swine Performance

By Jessica Boehm and Julie Salyer 
When do you include wheat midds into the diet?  This is a common question with the prices of corn and soybean meal on the rise.  As prices increase, we start to look at other feedstuffs that can be incorporated into swine diets. 

Don’t lose your cool!

Posted on June 22, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Jessica Boehm Even though it may have felt like it for a while, we have now officially entered into the summer of 2012 this week – and the heat is on! With the extra heat and humidity hanging around, both our pigs and workers can become overheated more quickly.  With a good understanding of

Vitamin D in swine diets: What’s the scoop?

Posted on June 8, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Julie Salyer Over the past 20 years, vitamin D is not a topic that has gotten much attention in the swine industry – at least not until very recently. The industry has asked a lot of questions about vitamin D this past year and, depending on who you ask, you can get very different

We keep a constant eye on your ingredient costs. Why?

Posted on May 25, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Jim Garrison Formulating swine diets today varies a great deal by what price you may have ingredients booked at or by what you will be charged by your manufacturing mill.  Here at Vita Plus, we use our Nutrition Program Alternatives tool to evaluate your options and provide some answers that match your specific needs. 

Strange bedfellows: Are restaurant chains sleeping with the enemy?

Posted on May 11, 2012 in Swine Performance

By Nate Brown 
Over the past several months, a number of large restaurant chains have issued press releases stating that, in the future, they want to procure pork products from suppliers that do not use 
gestation stalls in their production systems. Operating as for-profit businesses, they have the right to make demands of their suppliers if they think it is in the best interest of their companies. 

Sow housing: Where do we stand?

Posted on April 27, 2012 in Swine Performance

By Jessica Boehm and Dr. Dean Koehler 
A few weeks ago at our Swine Summit, we focused some time on the controversial topic of sow housing and sow welfare, especially in regard to the use of gestation crates. The majority of producers who attended the sow breakout session at the event said they currently house sows in stalls for the duration of the gestation period.  

Small particle size makes a big difference

Posted on April 13, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Julie Salyer Feed represents at least 75 percent of the total costs of today’s swine operations.  That means it’s not only important to know the composition of the ingredients and diets we are feeding, but also how these grains are processed. Grinding cereal grains is an effective way to improve feed utilization and decrease