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VFD in the Swine Industry: Why It's Important to Track Antibiotic Usage

VFD in the Swine Industry: Why It's Important to Track Antibiotic Usage

Jul 12, 2017
Antibiotic usage is a key issue that the pork industry will always face, and the pressures of it will only continue to increase in the future. With the Veterinary Feed Directive put into effect at the start of January 2017, many livestock producers are still adjusting, even swine producers. Any swine producer that doesn’t have a strong relationship with their local veterinarian, will struggle to acquire the feed-grade antibiotics they need to ensure their pigs are healthy and continuing to grow. Read More
Super-dosing of Phytase

Super-dosing of Phytase

Mar 3, 2017
As third and fourth generation phytase enzymes started to be used commonly in feeds, we realized that phytate, the major storage form of phosphorus in plants, is much more of an anti-nutrient limiting performance of swine than just an underutilized nutrient. Read More
Swine Industry Lessons Learned from 2016 and Looking Ahead to a New Year

Swine Industry Lessons Learned from 2016 and Looking Ahead to a New Year

Feb 3, 2017
For most hog producers, 2016 was a year to forget. While feed costs actually fell from 2015 (down just over $5 per weaned pig marketed), profitability proved to be elusive. According to Iowa State University’s Estimated Livestock Returns for 2016, farrow-to-finish producers averaged a loss of $4.72 per head with five profitable months. Wean-to-finish producers fared even worse with losses escalating to $15.72 per head with only two profitable months. To make matters worse, lower fertilizer prices reduced the value of manure offering only $2.50-3.00 per finished pig in manure credit to apply to a cropping operation. Read More
Records Tracking: Do You Really Know Your Operation?

Records Tracking: Do You Really Know Your Operation?

Dec 6, 2016
Today, many producers love the opportunity to ‘talk shop’ with other producers about how their production is going. I have seen this firsthand from sharing early Saturday morning coffee with local farmers. Some of their banter is harmless fun, but do today’s producers really know how well their production is doing? What contributing factors of their production could be changed to aid growth and maximize performance in their facilities? Not only being raised on a farm but being part of the industry for a few years, I have seen firsthand how one simple change can make such a difference to improve performance and lower investments costs. Read More
Steps for Starting Newly Weaned Pigs Out Strong

Steps for Starting Newly Weaned Pigs Out Strong

Nov 7, 2016
Getting pigs off to a good start is often over looked in many areas, from cleaning of the barn or facility, to proper nutrition. Following a few simple steps will help ensure the correct start to the young pigs. Read More
Myth Buster: Antibiotic Use in the Swine Industry

Myth Buster: Antibiotic Use in the Swine Industry

Sep 23, 2016
GMO free, hormone free, antibiotic free. These three phases are changing the food industry through continued consumer interest in how food is produced, and these labels are highly visible to consumers on many food packages, especially ‘antibiotic free.’ Read More
Minimizing Heat Stress in Pigs

Minimizing Heat Stress in Pigs

Aug 24, 2016
Managing heat stress is crucial in maximizing swine productivity and production. According to Iowa State University, heat stress causes an estimated $330 million in annual losses to the United States swine industry. During heat stress, the pigs body experiences an increase in the blood plasma pH and a decrease in intracellular pH. The pig will have a more difficult time fighting off diseases and pathogens. Additionally, the hormones responsible for stress will become prevalent within the blood. Read More
Vitamin Supplementation in Young Pigs

Vitamin Supplementation in Young Pigs

Jul 26, 2016
Over the last 4 to 5 years there have been more cases of sub-optimal vitamin D status in young pigs. Experience from producers and vets suggest that the Peri-weaning Failure to Thrive Syndrome (PFTS) is also related to suboptimal vitamin D. Read More
Meet Form-A-Feed's Swine Intern: Lacey Hanson

Meet Form-A-Feed's Swine Intern: Lacey Hanson

Jun 16, 2016
Form-A-Feed is thrilled to have two swine interns joining our team this summer! One of those interns is Lacey Hanson. We asked Lacey a few questions so you can get to know her: Read More
Meet Form-A-Feed's Swine Intern: Lisa Janak

Meet Form-A-Feed's Swine Intern: Lisa Janak

Jun 16, 2016
Form-A-Feed is thrilled to have two swine interns joining our team this summer! One of those interns is Lisa Janak. We asked Lisa a few questions so you can get to know her: Read More
Piglet Nutritional Challenges at Weaning

Piglet Nutritional Challenges at Weaning

Jun 3, 2016
One of the biggest challenges pigs go through in their lives is the first few days after they are weaned. This applies to all mammals as each of them are given special survival tools from their mothers. While the macro nutrients found in sow's milk such as protein and fat are required for piglet growth and development, sow's milk also contains micro components which are just as important and even more challenging to replace when piglets transition to a dry diet. Two of the most critical micro components are immunoglobulins and nucleotides. Read More
Cost of Missing a Feed Budget in Finishing Pigs

Cost of Missing a Feed Budget in Finishing Pigs

May 16, 2016
Pork producers use feed budgets to more accurately feed a group of pigs. Feed budgets should be calculated by pounds per head for each ration whenever possible. Feeding based off of days does not account for intake fluctuations created on stocking density, health, and environment. The simplest information can be the most difficult to get accurate. Starting head count and starting weight is all that is needed to do an accurate feed budget. Read More
Enzymes and their Application in Swine Diets

Enzymes and their Application in Swine Diets

Mar 30, 2016
The genetic and management advancements in swine production over the past few decades have created a pig which is extremely efficient at converting grains to protein rich pork. Despite these advances, there is still a large portion of the nutrients fed to pigs which go undigested. These undigested nutrients not only represent a lost opportunity cost in the form of feed, but they also add to the waste nutrient load produced by a pig. While these waste nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) are reincorporated into most production systems as crop fertilizer, they are not looked upon favorably by environmental regulators. Moreover, crop production forms of NPK are more cost effective to apply directly to cropland than intentionally over supplementing feed forms of NPK to pigs and applying the undigested portions. Read More
New VFD Regulations Will Affect Most Livestock Producers

New VFD Regulations Will Affect Most Livestock Producers

Feb 11, 2016
In a process that began several years ago, we are now about 10 months away from the implementation of sweeping changes in FDA regulations affecting the use of antibiotics in animal feeds. These changes will affect the use of antibiotics that are deemed “medically important”, generally meaning that they are also used in human medicine. Read More
Iodine Values: Pigs are what they Eat

Iodine Values: Pigs are what they Eat

Dec 1, 2015
While pork carcasses are not typically classified by quality like beef carcasses, there is one measure of carcass quality which is very closely monitored by meat packers: iodine value (IV). This name is a bit misleading as it has nothing to do with the iodine in a pig’s diet but rather it describes a chemical reaction used to determine the saturation of carcass fat. A lower IV means the carcass fat is composed of a greater proportion of saturated fatty acids while a higher IV indicates a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids. A simple way to distinguish saturated and unsaturated fats is their state at room temperature: saturated are solid (i.e. tallow) while unsaturated are liquid (i.e. vegetable oil). Read More
2015 Swine Conference Highlights

2015 Swine Conference Highlights

Sep 2, 2015
We are continuing to make our Professional Swine Conference bigger and better each year. 2015’s Swine Conference was no exception as we offered two days of activities, networking, and educational speakers in beautiful Okoboji, IA. Read More
Locking down problem feed ingredients.

Locking down problem feed ingredients.

Aug 16, 2015
With the crops in the field looking as good as I have ever seen, the bins will be bursting this fall. We have had very few challenges to this year’s corn in the upper Midwest. An early spring and timely rains have made this a year for growing corn. However let’s dial the clock back to the 2014 crop year. Read More
Advantages of Pelleted Swine Grow-Finish Feed

Advantages of Pelleted Swine Grow-Finish Feed

Jul 24, 2015
Pellet mills and pelleted feeds have been around since the early 1930’s when the company that would eventually become California Pellet Mill (CPM) created their first 30 horsepower mill. While pelleting feed may not be a new concept, pelleted feeds continue to expand into more segments of livestock production. Most swine producers are accustomed to feeding pelleted feed to nursery pigs for at least one diet phase, however there has been increasing interest in pelleting feed for growing and finishing feed as well. While this process certainly comes at a cost (typically $5-10 per ton), there are multiple ways in which pelleting will provide an excellent return on investment. Read More
Not all fat sources are created equally

Not all fat sources are created equally

May 7, 2015
Adding fat to swine diets has the benefit of improving feed conversion rates, average daily gain, and group uniformity, however, not all dietary fat sources are created equally. Fat sources have different energy values, usage level limitations, palatability, and possible negative effects. As a whole, the quality of a fat source depends upon two overarching factors: the raw ingredient source from which the fat is derived and the condition of the fat source. Read More
Biosecurity is YOUR Responsibility

Biosecurity is YOUR Responsibility

May 6, 2015
Although it is important for every visitor to be aware that biosecurity protocols need to be carried out, it is your own responsibility to have a biosecurity plan for your farm. Having your own biosecurity farm plan can potentially save your farm from significant economic loss and lend assurance to consumers that products are safe and wholesome, assisting to ensure consumer demand for product. Biosecurity also helps you keep your animals healthy and farm profitable. Read More
What diet energy density should I be feeding to my grow-finish pigs?

What diet energy density should I be feeding to my grow-finish pigs?

Mar 10, 2015
Several methods for balancing growing and finishing diets for digestible amino acids, minerals, and vitamins exist today. However, the energy density of these balanced diets can very greatly. Read More
Managing the risk of PEDv transmission through feed ingredients

Managing the risk of PEDv transmission through feed ingredients

Feb 19, 2015
The United States swine industry was brought to its knees in the fall and winter of 2013/2014 by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). PEDV quickly became a four letter word to many swine producers as an estimated 8 million piglets were lost during this time period. Read More
Methionine Shortage

Methionine Shortage

Jan 14, 2015
Methionine is an essential amino acid that is commonly added to swine and poultry rations fed corn-soybean meal based diets. Some of these intermediates used to make methionine were in short supply starting in early fall of 2014 resulting in shortages of methionine. What can be done to get through these shortages? Read More