Back-to-Basics Products Get Nod From Review Panel

The pork industry may be moving toward a more global focus, but there is still a need for products to help pork producers keep animals healthy, comfortable and productive

The pork industry may be moving toward a more global focus, but there is still a need for products to help pork producers keep animals healthy, comfortable and productive.

The National Hog Farmer new-product panel evaluated nearly 50 products from all over the world, which were displayed at the 2003 World Pork Expo trade show.

This well-rounded team of pork industry professionals spent two days evaluating new products and services on behalf of National Hog Farmer readers. Only products that had been introduced to the U.S. pork industry in the past year were considered. Nine products were selected for recognition this year.

The new product panel included:

John Korslund, a pork producer and veterinarian from Eagle Grove, IA. Korslund started a new position with the Veterinary Services swine disease control unit at USDA in Washington, DC in July.

Jerry Torrison, a veterinarian with the Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, MN. Torrison has extensive swine industry experience dealing with pork production operations of various sizes.

Daniel J. Meyer, agricultural engineering field specialist, Iowa State University Extension Service, Fayette, IA. Meyer specializes in livestock production and processing systems, environmental quality, manure management and livestock housing.

Ken Stalder, assistant professor and Extension swine specialist, Iowa State University, started his new position on July 1 after several years of serving in a similar capacity at the West Tennessee Experiment Station, Jackson, TN.

Panel members, who recognize that not every product would work in every pork production operation, believe that the strong set of new products could benefit pork producers of all sizes.

“There was no shortage of good products to look at,” Stalder says.

Korslund agrees. “The variety of new products available to the market were especially good when you consider the kind of year we just finished in pork production,” he says.

“I think you could summarize the products this year as being products that take us back to the basics of good, sound management,” Torrison explains. “These products help with everything from making sure that good boar-to-sow contact stimulates the best mating possible, to keeping newborn pigs warm, to making sure pigs are fed and watered regularly.”

“There were a variety of new products dealing with manure management and environmental issues, which are similar no matter where you live. These products had undergone testing around the world,” Meyer says.

“The products did a good job of providing assistance to stockmanship,” Korslund summarizes. “Good stockmanship and treating animals right are really the bottom line to successful pork production.”

Take a few minutes to benefit from the panel's time, experience and thoughtful discussion as they reviewed their choices of “most promising” products.

Products are listed in no particular order. If you would like more information about any of these products, circle the appropriate number on the reply card in this issue and return it to National Hog Farmer.

Mistral Reduces Pre-Weaning Mortality

Mistral, from Olmix, is a powdered product from Europe that is grabbing worldwide attention. The powder, consisting of a blend of mineral desiccants, seaweed, clays and essential oils, helps keep piglets warm and dry.

The powder is applied by dipping newborn piglets into a bucket of Mistral, which helps dry them off immediately after birth. When piglets dry off faster, there is less chance of chilling, and they save valuable energy and obtain colostrum sooner, improving the odds of survival.

Trials in Canada, Europe and Asia showed piglets got up and nursed for the first time as quickly as 5 minutes after being dunked in the product — up to 20 minutes sooner than pigs not receiving the Mistral treatment.

Umbilical cords dried faster, reducing risk of infection during research in a 300-sow unit in Europe. Forty-eight hours after dunking newborns in Mistral, 59% of the umbilical cords had dried and dropped off, compared to 30% in untreated, control group pigs. European research also showed decreased preweaning mortality when the product was used.

The company has found that applications improve pig comfort at other production phases, too.

Sprinkling Mistral on the floor in the farrowing crate and creep area also helps reduce moisture and prevents sows from slipping.

Herve Demais, DVM and Olmix research and development manager, says piglets are less likely to consume sow feces if Mistral is sprinkled on the floor regularly. Reocreux Alain, Olmix export manager, stresses that Mistral is harmless if eaten, however. To demonstrate, he dipped his finger into the bucket of product, tasted it, and encouraged panel members to give it a try.

The product has a slightly citrus smell and taste. Alain says piglets associate this smell with positive experiences, which means it can be a source of comfort at weaning time, too. “Using Mistral for up to one week after weaning can help piglets adjust to their new situation because of the familiar smell,” he claims. “Sprinkle the product near feeders to help draw pigs to new feed and water locations.”

Mistral is phosphorus-free, helps repel insects and floats on the top of the manure pit, Alain said.

Alain said producers can typically expect to use approximately 25 lb. of Mistral/sow/year. Mistral costs between $25-$29 for a 55-lb. bag.

Stalder likes the animal welfare advantages Mistral offers. “This seems to be a very practical product,” he says.

Korslund notes that in order to attain the most benefit from the product, farrowings would have to be attended so the wet, newborn piglets could be dipped. “Making sure farrowings are attended also helps improve piglet mortality,” he says. “This has a lot of potential to be taken home and used successfully by farrow-to-finish producers.”

Torrison says the product may improve working conditions. All panelists agree that the product left a pleasant smell on their hands — an added benefit for anyone working in a hog operation.
((Circle Reply Card No. 101)

Feed-Link Helps Keep Pigs Fed

The Feed-Link System from Automated Production (AP) Systems has the capability of reporting feed inventory and consumption data from a number of sites. Feed inventory information can be monitored from a home office, feed mill or any location with a personal computer and a phone line.

Load cells are specially designed for the harsh environment of a swine facility and adapt to most existing feed bins. They attach to the bin by using the existing anchor bolts. The load cells are accurate within 1-2%, depending on the configuration. The compact design of the load cell assembly increases the overall bin height by only 3 in.

A Feed-Link display unit can be mounted either on the bin or inside a building up to 100 ft. away. The digital display can be set to display pounds or kilograms, or indicate the bin's “percentage of full.”

The Feed-Link software package is a Windows-based system that monitors the status of feed bins at multiple sites from a single PC via fax modem. The software package can be used to enter site information, fax numbers and parameters for a “fax out” feature. This means feed inventory reports can be direct-faxed or e-mailed to targeted recipients at scheduled intervals. Low-level reports are automatically sent when any bin on the network falls below a pre-set level.

“No more walking along the bins, banging on the sides to see if they are empty,” explains Mark Hayden, general manager of AP Systems, Sioux City (IA) Division. “Feed-Link also makes the job of checking bins safer because people don't have to climb up on the bin to check the feed levels, thus reducing the risk of falls.”

A network collector is an electronic device in a watertight box that allows a producer to receive information from up to 50 feed bin display units. The network collector is typically located in the farm office and plugs into an a/c power source and a phone line. A communication wire runs to the display units in a daisy-chain configuration. If producers choose to add a network collector box, they will have access to feed inventory, consumption, and even water use data for multiple sites. A water pulse meter can be connected to the Feed-Link System to allow monitoring of water consumption.

Hayden says the Feed-Link System helps monitor pig health, in addition to keeping the feed supply constant. “If a producer is monitoring feed consumption and water use and sees a sudden drop, it provides a chance to look for problems, and an early start on medicating pigs if a problem is found.”

Hayden says the automatic fax or e-mail report can notify up to five different telephone numbers of a low-feed situation, so alarms to alert of an empty bin should not be necessary.

“The ability to monitor the amount of feed in the bin from a remote location would provide a definite biosecurity advantage,” Torrison says. He also notes that a producer would be able to verify the amount of feed delivered. “It's nice to be able to build on the basic features so you can monitor multiple sites, or monitor water use if that is something that fits your operation,” he adds.

Korslund notes the new, less expensive load cells helps make the system more affordable.

Meyer offers key questions for evaluating the value of the system: “How reliable are your employees? This system could be viewed as risk insurance. How big is the payback of being able to have this information readily available vs. the cost to the operation of having bins going empty?”

Stalder believes the Feed-Link System can be used by a wide variety of producers.

The cost of the Feed-Link System ranges from $600-$1,000 per bin, depending on the desired options and bin size.
(Circle Reply Card No. 102)

New Syringe Delivers Efficient Injections

Durvet Inc.'s new 2 ml. Powered Pig Injector was developed in Australia for fast, consistent delivery of medication to large numbers of hogs while causing less operator hand strain.

The syringe provides consistent needle depth every time with a single-action injection technique. A 14-oz. bottle of propane (not included) provides the pressure for the unit. The propane can be purchased from most hardware and building supply stores for about $3, according to John Oulton, Durvet's business and development manager.

A 14-oz. bottle of propane should provide approximately 2,000 to 2,500 shots, depending on the volume of the injection. “We are working on an alternative power source, which will involve a portable, battery-powered air-compressor unit to be released later in the year, depending on trial results,” he says.

The injection unit is made of strong, lightweight plastic and metal, with a built-in trigger. A nose cone prevents needle-stick injuries. The nose cone and needle area can be disassembled and flushed with water during clean-up procedures. Periodic applications of castor oil are needed to keep internal rings lubricated.

The Powered Pig Injector is calibrated to administer doses in 0.5-ml. increments.

The $500 retail price includes the 2-ml. pig injector handpiece, approved gas regulator, three different sized draw-off caps, a feed tube, backpack harness to carry the gas bottle, vaccine pouch for drug bottles, 100-ml. bottle of castor oil lubricant, heavy duty carrying case and instruction booklet.

Torrison says the Powered Pig Injector seems to be well field-tested. Stalder believes the injector design may lessen the chance of broken needles.
(Circle Reply Card No. 103)

New Switch Means More Reliable Medicating

Nothing sounds quite as simple as an on/off switch, and that simplicity is the key to safer, more effective medicator use with the new Dosmatic Advantage On/Off Switch. The new switch is located at the top of the unit. When the switch is activated, the unit stops injecting the chemicals/medication, yet allows the water to continue to flow uninterrupted to the pigs. This new switch makes it easy to determine whether the medicator is on or off.

“The problem in the industry has been that plain water may be running through the lines, and there is no way to determine what is going on,” explains Peter Acutt, vice president of sales for Dosmatic.

The Advantage On/Off Switch includes a red indicator that pops up when the “off” switch is triggered. This shows that the unit is not medicating. Another visual clue to the medicating process is that when the switch handle is in the “on” position, it points in the direction of the water flow.

The switch is included on some newer models of medicators at no extra charge, and can be installed in other models for an additional $30.

“As water treatment and disinfecting via water becomes more common in the swine industry, this seems like a practical idea,” says Stalder.

“This product seems to address an existing weak point in management,” Korslund adds. “Medicators don't always get the attention they need; consequently, they aren't always dispensing properly.”

“This simple product definitely seems to fill a need,” Torrison agrees.
(Circle Reply Card No. 104)

Durable Drag Hose Reel Helps Reduce Compaction

The 5500 M Drag Hose Reel from Cadman Power Equipment, Ontario, Canada, utilizes a medium density polyethylene hose, the same type of hose used in underground gas lines, as part of an efficient manure application system.

Tim Herman, Cadman Power Equipment sales manager, says the 5500 M solves many problems associated with either tankers or soft hose umbilical systems used to apply liquid manure.

“The hard hose is rigid; therefore, it won't twist and kink like a soft hose does,” he explains. “And, because it is more rigid, you can utilize its full length.”

In a side-by-side comparison of 1,320 ft. of hard hose vs. soft hose, Herman says the hard hose covers 75 acres in one setting, while the soft hose covers 40 acres. The difference is that the soft hose, typically made of nitrole rubber or vinyl, must be looped through the field to prevent twisting and kinking, he adds.

“The polyethylene hose used on the 5500 M can last up to five times longer than soft hose,” Herman continues, explaining the hose can handle a flow rate of up to 100,000 gal. of manure/hour. He says the typical per hour application rate is 72,000 gal./hour.

Herman explains that the main advantage of the hard hose compared to the traditional soft hose is that the rigid hose is easier to drag in the field and will not wear out as fast.

Meyer also acknowledges there is less friction slowing down manure flow inside the hard hose vs. a soft hose.

Herman says that while the hard hose is more durable, it is not puncture resistant if run over by equipment, for example. He also emphasizes that the hose should be positioned straight behind the drag wheel to avoid damage when rewinding.

The hose is carried on a drag reel cart with tandem axle, high flotation tires and hydraulic stabilizer legs. A dual #100 chain, running over the diameter of the drum on traction pins, drives the hose reel drum.

If the hose guide malfunctions for any reason, a safety switch activated by the speed compensator shuts the engine off and prevents the hose from miswrapping.

The 5500 M Drag Hose Reel costs $55,000, which includes the machine with 1,550 ft. of 5½-in. I.D. hose, four-wheel disc brakes with 445/65 R 22.5 DOT-approved highway tires.
(Circle Reply Card No. 105)

Solid Separator Designed For Heavy Duty Operation

The Baleen Filter is a self-cleaning wastewater filter to separate out manure solids. Stockyard Industries, Queensland, Australia, brings the product to the U.S. pork industry.

Results on Australian hog farms have shown the Baleen Filter produces a solids reduction approaching 50% by screening to as low as 35 microns, or 400 mesh.

Marcus Jones, director of sales for Stockyard Industries, says because conditions may vary from farm to farm, the Baleen Filter can handle flow rates of raw product up to 13,200 gal./hour. Solids are collected in a de-watered or spadeable form. This means transporting solids off-site and/or solids disposal becomes more cost effective, Jones explains. “The filtered water offers the possibility to be re-used in the operation, or immediately used for irrigation without an excessively high nutrient content.”

Gravity works in the Baleen filter to separate the solids from water. “The technology is based on a double act of high pressure and low-volume sprays, one of which dislodges material caught by the filter media, while the other sweeps it away,” Jones says. As water flows through the filter, particles sized larger than the filter media, which were initially suspended in the water, are left behind. Before they are allowed to accumulate, they are removed from the filter media by jets. The Baleen Filter ranges from 25 to 800 microns. High-pressure pumps are not required.

The filter media continuously self-cleans, so no downtime is required for regular maintenance. The screen is covered by a five-year warranty.

The separator has the capability to continuously run at peak capacity for long periods of time, and it can handle the surges of the flush system by intermittent operation at peak constant flow rates.

Jones says that the unit uses power to 3.0 kw/hour, so costs will vary with the utility supplier. Other costs include the cost of water and a small pump. The total cost of the Baleen Filter ranges from $22,000 to $33,000, including pump base.

A middle-sized separator can handle ten, 1,000-head finishing barns, explains a Baleen spokesperson.
(Circle Reply Card No. 106)

Automatic Feeder Prevents Moisture Wicking

The PigNic automatic feeder from Big Dutchman is available in both wean-to-finish and finishing models. Feed is dispensed via a tube in the center of the feeder, with two nipple waterers on both sides.

A 360-degree pivoted metering mechanism means pigs can dispense feed easily. Two depressions on the left and right side of the feed dispensing area allow feed to absorb water without allowing moisture to wick into the feed dispensing tube.

The drinking troughs have a raised bump so pigs cannot activate the nipple with their feet. The deep trough is raised above the slats so thorough cleaning underneath is easy.

The top of the feeder features a lid that tilts for easy control and cleaning. Knockouts on the lid can accommodate augers for automatic feeding, or they can be filled manually. A crank on the side of the feeder makes feed flow adjustments easy. An agitator in the storage tank prevents bridging feed. The transparent feed hopper can hold 100 lb. of feed.

John Kloeze, area sales manager for Big Dutchman, Goderich, Ontario, Canada, explains that the feeder can be cranked open from the bottom and the lid can be opened up for easy cleaning.

PigNic feeders are made of stainless steel and plastic. Pellets, meal or granules can be fed with the feeder, which can be installed into the pen partition or be self-supporting within the pen.

The feeder designed for smaller pigs, up to 80 lb., features an additional lip to separate feed from the drinking pans so feed cannot fall into the drinking area. It retails for $295 and can feed 40-50 pigs, depending upon pig age and size.

The finishing feeder can be used for pigs from 20 to 250 lb., and is also priced at $295. A double-sized, wean-to-finish feeder model has feeding space for 80 pigs and costs $395.

Stalder says the transparent hopper makes it easy to check feed levels from outside the pen. Torrison suggests that the transparency would make feeder management easier.

Kloeze says the feeder can be bolted right to the slats, or put on a raised concrete pad.

“I like the way the feeder was designed to prevent moisture wicking into the tube,” Stalder says. “It's also nice to have the agitator to prevent bridging.”
(Circle Reply Card No. 107)

Boar Cart Promotes Nose-to-Nose Contact

Perry Hartmann, Hog Slat, Inc. product manager, demonstrated the benefits of the Contact-O-Max 2003 Junior Model boar cart for the panel. Boars take a safe and easy ride down the alley to make snout-to-snout contact with sows in the stainless steel cart.

A multiple articulation system allows the cart to turn 24 × 24-in. alley corners. A lateral roller system swings in and out for better steering control when used in large alleyways. An alternating side panel allows the boar to access sows on either side of the crate. Two optional, spring-loaded removable bars are used to prevent the boar from lying down.

The Contact-O-Max 2003 Junior has a new drive system featuring an automatic lock/unlock assembly to help climb alley ramps or turn corners. The cart can be driven via a shock- and water-resistant remote control. The cart can be operated forward or backward at the same speed. Carts are available in 20-in. and 22-in. models.

Front and back gates open and close from either side. Non-slip aluminum flooring is designed for good traction and easy clean-up.

Hartmann says the cart can also be used for moving animals or for dead pig removal.

The cart is powered by an electric motor with a rechargeable battery. The battery will run up to 15 hours and can be charged on any 110-volt outlet. A convenient battery charger is also built into the top of the cart. The battery also carries a one-year warranty.

The Contact-O-Max 2003 Junior sells for $4,500.

Hartmann says a boar that is used to being crated will train to use the cart within minutes. Those not used to a crate may take up to a day to train, he adds.

Meyer likes the labor-saving aspect of the cart. “Safety is so important, too,” he notes. “Moving a boar around can be dangerous, and this cart helps make this a safer process.”

Stalder says the Contact-O-Max 2003 design is an improvement over some other designs on the market. “The remote control is nice,” he says.

Torrison emphasizes what an important role snout-to-snout contact plays in stimulating sows for successful insemination. “Having a high-quality mating and good farrowing rates drives the success of the farm,” he says.
(Circle Reply Card No. 108)

Software System Simulates Production Realities

Cargill Animal Nutrition is urging pork producers to take a look at their farms in the “virtual world” by exploring, via computer, how changes to inputs may impact the bottom line.

The MAX® system from Cargill Animal Nutrition provides a dynamic solution to many pork production questions and challenges, according to Brian Knudson, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Minnetonka, MN.

The system helps producers look at the value of feed ingredients in real-time by updating the nutrient matrix of ingredients. The system can adjust nutrient specifications during diet phases based on feed intake and growth, create feed budgets and project expected efficiency, for example.

“Producers discover how world-class performance can be achieved, given current inputs to the business,” Knudson says. “They can look at simulated results from changing feed intake, lean gain/day, effective ambient temperature, pig density, new flooring, or an adjusted market weight, for example.”

Knudson says that the program can give projections for pigs marketed up to 320 lb.

The MAX® system provides support to the consulting experience for the customer. The system can be accessed through nutrition solutions or know-how license from Cargill Animal Nutrition. Unique solutions are developed for each producer, depending upon how best to support their business. The Cargill consultant works closely with the producer to build their virtual production site and discover the best nutrition solution.

“It's nice to be able to view the results of different changes to the operation in such a dynamic way,” Torrison comments. “Having good information regarding the consequences of management changes gives a producer a significant advantage.”

Korslund agrees, “It can be challenging to find a record program that can handle the complex nature of the industry.”

The panel agrees that they would like to see more specifics on the pricing structure.
(Circle Reply Card No. 109)