Group housing for sows: Can it be done effectively?

Posted on May 7, 2013 in Swine Performance
By Dr. Dean Koehler With a lot of pressure to move toward group housing for sows, Dr. Tom Parsons, associate professor of swine medicine in the Department of Clinical Studies – New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, joined us at the Vita Plus Swine Summit to share his insight. Parsons studies

All in…

Posted on April 4, 2013 in Swine Performance
More than 150 pork producers, Vita Plus staff and industry partners recently gathered in Morton, Minnesota for the Vita Plus Swine Summit 2013.  This year’s event centered on the theme “All in…” as attendees learned about cutting-edge research and tools from top-notch speakers.  They also spent time networking and learning from fellow progressive producers from

Corn prices: A guessing game

Posted on March 15, 2013 in Swine Performance
By Brendan Corrigan We’ve been hearing a lot of guesses about where corn prices will be this summer.  Some say $3.50.  Some say $9. The USDA reports that 96 million acres of corn will be planted in 2013.  Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group, an agribusiness research and marketing firm, says that if that

Who do you trust?

Posted on January 25, 2013 in Swine Performance
By Jim Garrison We all have a level of trust within our immediate family.  We have a level of trust with our business partners.  We have a level of trust within our best and most long-term friendships. We also have trust in our doctors or pastors. But do you trust all of the people with

This little piggy went to market and this little piggy stayed home

Posted on January 15, 2013 in Swine Performance
By Julie Salyer Over the years, producers have used many different to help lower economic loss by answering the questions of “when” and “how many” pigs to top, leading to lower group weight variation when taking pigs to market. However, many might still be missing the mark. Vita Plus has adopted helpful tools that map

Give them some air…good air

Posted on December 28, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Brendan Corrigan The recent heavy snows and strong winds in the Midwest have me thinking about barn ventilation. Not in reference to the correct set points and heater offsets, but rather the production, circulation and removal of heat and moisture in the barns. Extreme weather such as snow, wind and ice can wreak havoc

It apparently does take two to tango

Posted on December 14, 2012 in Swine Performance
By Jessica Boehm More than 300 producers attended the Midwest Pork Conference in Danville, Indiana last week.  This is a one-day conference focused on the topics that matter to the livelihood of hog producers.  It inspired pork producers to keep up the good work as well as provided suggestions to further improve their production to

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