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Articles from 2017 In May


Michigan state legislators are on their way to relaxing gun regulations. A Democratic candidate for governor in Illinois says Indiana's gun laws are too lax, which makes it easier for criminals to access guns that cause loss of life in Chicago.

Democrats in Senate Ag Committee are protesting deep cuts to rural development in president's budget. The Democrats wrote letter to President Trump.

Millennials, we've been told, are more into experiences than material things. That's what a man and woman in North Dakota intend to do. They have put their businesses and pets in hands of friends and will travel the globe.


That comedian in the news for the distasteful picture where she appears to be holding bloodied head of President Trump has lived her adult life in California, but Kathy Griffin grew up near Chicago. She was the youngest of five children. At age of 18, she persuaded her parents to move to California so she could become famous. Tweet from Secret Service said they are on it.

Chipotle is out with list of restaurants where your data may have been hacked this spring. Several in Minnesota.

Early condition ratings with corn crop have little correlation with ratings in the fall. Interesting to see where problems are - eastern Corn Belt. In Indiana, 17% rated poor or very poor.  Ohio is 12% poor or very poor.

Farm Progress America, May 31, 2017

Max Armstrong offers a look at disease that is decimating groves across Florida - citrus greening. Max shares information about work being done to battle the disease across the state. Researchers are working hard on solutions.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Zinpro launches Zinpro Discovery Foundation

Zinpro Corp. has announced the launch of the Zinpro Discovery Foundation, a U.S.-tax-exempt 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to discover, research or develop solutions to improve human and animal wellness across the globe.

“Zinpro Corp. pioneered the research and development of Performance Minerals more than 45 years ago,” says William Scrimgeour, president and COO. “Over the years, our many nutritional and business solutions have resulted in significant improvements in animal wellness and performance. However, our global leadership in animal mineral nutrition also comes with the responsibility to ensure our research is used to benefit society as much as possible. With this goal in mind, we have collaborated with leaders outside Zinpro to create the Zinpro Discovery Foundation.”

Nutritionists have long known that trace mineral nutrition is essential to health for both humans and animals. For example, zinc deficiency negatively affects up to 2 billion people worldwide.1 For so many people across the globe, the difference between being healthy and unhealthy lies in only a few milligrams of zinc. The multiple systemic effects from zinc deficiency include growth retardation, weight loss, infertility, hair loss, mental and emotional disorder, impaired immune function and skin lesions.

Zinc is just one essential trace mineral that shows benefits when supplemented to both animal and human diets. Other essential trace minerals, such as copper, cobalt, manganese, iron, chromium, selenium and iodine, also play key roles that benefit animal and human health.

“Since our research in animal nutrition has great potential to pave the way for breakthroughs in human health, we started a nonprofit organization to make that possible, and the Zinpro Discovery Foundation is the culmination of our efforts,” Scrimgeour says.

The Zinpro Discovery Foundation welcomes donations to help raise awareness and knowledge about trace mineral deficiencies and how to improve human and animal wellness. Educational and research grants are allocated by a board of directors. The donation goal for 2017 is $1 million (USD) in educational and research grants.

Grants are available to researchers and organizations through an application process that starts online at Details of the request include how a researcher or an organization would spend the funds if the grant is received. Requests are evaluated based on the applicant’s stated problem statements and project goals.

To obtain additional information, including regular updates on active grants and recent donations, check online at

1Data are based on the composite nutrient composition database, IZINCG physiological requirements and the Miller Equation to estimate zinc absorption and an assumed 25% inter-individual variation in zinc intake. Data are for the 2005 time frame (2003–07). To confirm the prevalence of zinc deficiency, it is recommended to assess plasma zinc concentration and/or dietary zinc intake in countries identified at high risk of zinc deficiency based on a high stunting prevalence or high prevalence of dietary zinc availability.

Study: Zinc’s negative effects on mineral digestibility can be mitigated

National Hog Farmer Young pigs in a pen

Source: University of Illinois Department of Animal Sciences
Researchers at the University of Illinois have shown that a common strategy for reducing post-weaning diarrhea in pigs may have negative effects on calcium and phosphorus digestibility, and suggested management practices to counteract the effects.

The biological requirement for zinc in growing pigs is approximately 50 milligrams per kilogram body weight. However, pharmacological levels of zinc — 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams per kilogram — are sometimes included in diets fed to pigs after weaning. The high levels of zinc help to prevent post-weaning diarrhea, but are not without drawbacks.

“Zinc competes with calcium for absorption in the small intestine of the pig,” says U of I animal sciences professor Hans H. Stein. “In addition, most phosphorus in plant sources is bound to phytate, and zinc can form complexes with phytate and prevent hydrolysis of the phytate molecule by phytase. Therefore, if zinc is included at pharmacological levels in the diets, it can reduce calcium and phosphorus digestibility.”

Stein led a team of researchers that set out to determine if pharmacological levels of zinc oxide in pig diets affect the ability of microbial phytase to improve calcium and phosphorus digestibility. They fed growing barrows diets containing either 0 or 2,400 milligrams per kilogram zinc in the form of zinc oxide, along with either zero, 1,000 or 3,000 units of phytase (FTU) per kilogram.

Standardized total tract digestibility of calcium was 70% for pigs fed diets containing no zinc oxide and no phytase. Apparent total tract digestibility of phosphorus in the same diets was 61.5%. However, when zinc oxide was included in the diets, those values dropped to 67.2% for STTD of calcium and 55.6% for ATTD of phosphorus.

Adding microbial phytase improved calcium and phosphorus digestibility in all diets. However, the improvement in digestibility was reduced in diets containing zinc oxide. In the diets without zinc oxide, adding 3,000 FTU of phytase increased the STTD of calcium by 16%, but the increase was only 9.7% in the high zinc diets. Adding 3,000 FTU of phytase increased the ATTD of phosphorus by 31% and 21%, respectively, in diets without and with zinc oxide.

Stein offered guidelines for producers based on the new research.

“If pigs need pharmacological levels of zinc, the calcium and phosphorus in the diets may need to be increased by 4% and 9.5%, respectively, for 15 kilogram pigs. Alternatively, diets can be supplemented with microbial phytase to prevent reduced absorption of calcium and phosphorus, but the efficacy of phytase will be reduced.”

The paper, “Effects of zinc oxide and microbial phytase on digestibility of calcium and phosphorus in maize-based diets fed to growing pigs,” was co-authored by Laia Blavi of the University of Illinois, and David Sola-Oriol and José Francisco Perez of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. It was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Animal Science.

JBS strikes deal with federal prosecutors

JBS logo

JBS S.A. announces its holding company, J&F Participações, agrees to pay a R$10.3 billion ($3.18 billion U.S.) settlement for its role in Brazilian’s largest meat scandal.

This leniency agreement includes the payment of R$10.3 billion over 25 years payable solely by J&F and as it relates to JBS includes Federal Police investigations known as Bullish and Weak Flesh.

Federal investigators allege JBS bribed Brazil’s former and current presidents and meat inspectors along with questionable loans made to the company by the National Economic and Social Development Bank.

Joesley and Wesley Batista, JBS former owners, entered into a plea bargain deal last week and resigned from their positions from the JBS board of directors.  The Board of Directors unanimously elected Tarek Farahat as Joesley Batista’s replacement as chairman of the board.

Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition announces promotion of Mark Martinez

Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition announces that Mark Martinez has been promoted to the position of manager, Business Development and National Accounts. In this role, Martinez will be responsible for leading the organization’s poultry and swine commercial team.

“We’re excited to see Mark step into this new role,” says Scott Druker, general manager, Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition. In his previous position at Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition, Martinez served as national accounts manager, and prior to that as South Central account manager. He has played an integral role in introducing Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition to the poultry and swine markets.

“Mark’s years of experience overseeing national channel sales accounts, along with his extensive knowledge of the poultry and swine industries, make him a great fit for this new position,” Druker adds. “With the recent acquisition of Agro BioSciences, we have strengthened our portfolio to meet the growing needs of producers worldwide, significantly expanding our monogastric sales and research teams. Mark is well-suited to lead this group.”

Martinez has more than 26 years of experience working in the feed and livestock production industries. Prior to joining Arm & Hammer, he was employed at Elanco Animal Health, where he managed large channel accounts for nine years. Martinez has also held positions at FMC Corp. and Kemin Industries.

What is going on with increasing sow death loss and culling?

National Pork Board Overhead shot of a sow and her litter in a farrowing stall

Over the next two months, we are going to share information we have pulled from our database in regards to herd fallout for the DSM Pork Nexus conference that was held at North Carolina State University in May. This month we are going to focus on some trends in the data. Next month we will talk about the major reasons contributing to fallout and the variation between systems.

What does the trend look like for death loss over the last 11 years? It is shown in Chart 1. The top 10% of the farms have a favorable trend line for death loss while the database as a whole has an unfavorable trend line. Overall death loss was actually lowered each year from 2006 to 2010 before it was steady until 2014 and then jumping up in 2015 to 8.6% and finishing 2016 at 10.2%. Why has death loss continued to rise over the last several years? Is it because more productive females are under more stress, because individual pig care isn’t focused on in some units, or because we are treating less because that is what consumers want?

Swine Management Services

Chart 2 shows that over the last 52 weeks there have been farms in the Swine Management Services dataset at less than 2% for the year while there have been others at more than 22% with the average at 10.4% for the last 52 weeks. That was 210 of the 898 farms or 23.4% with female death loss at 12+% for the last 52 weeks.

Swine Management Services

Chart 2 shows that over the last 52 weeks there have been farms in the Swine Management Services dataset at less than 2% for the year while there have been others at more than 22% with the average at 10.4% for the last 52 weeks. That was 210 of the 898 farms or 23.4% with female death loss at 12+% for the last 52 weeks.

In Chart 3 we look at 893 farms with 1,492,900 sows, and for the last 12 months broke out the percent of culls and deaths by size of farms. Of the five subsets based on size of operation those who have 1,000-2,999 sows along with more than 4,000 sows have death losses at or above 10% on average. The farms with less than 1,000 sows have the lowest death loss at 6.5%. While operations between 3,000 and 3,999 sows have the lowest combined death loss and cull rate at a combined 51.8%.

Swine Management Services

Chart 3: Looks at 893 farms with 1.492 million sows, and for the last 12 months broke out the percent of culls and deaths by size of farms.

In Table 1 from a column we wrote in 2012 for National Hog Farmer it shows that there was less than a 1% difference in sow death loss regardless of housing, those in crates were at 7.5% while pens were at 6.8% and electronic sow feeding barns were at 7.7%. We plan to conduct this again later this year as we have added several more ESF operations in the last five years. If you are interested in participating in this study please contact us and we will discuss it further with you.

Swine Management Services

Table 1: From a column in 2012 National Hog Farmer showing there was less than a 1% difference in sow death loss regardless of housing, those in crates were at 7.5% while pens were at 6.8% and electronic sow feeding barns were at 7.7%.

Table 2 provides the 52-week rolling averages for 11 production numbers represented in the SMS Production Index. The numbers are separated by 90-100%, the 70-90%, the 50-70%, the 30-50%, and the 0-30% groups. We also included the 13-week, 26-week and 12-quarter averages. These numbers represent what we feel are the key production numbers to look at to evaluate the farm’s performance. Take a look at the row “Female Death Loss %” at the farms in the 90-110 percentiles at 6.4% to farms in the 0-30 percentile at 13.5%.

Swine Management Services

Table 2: 52-week rolling averages for 11 production numbers represented in the SMS Production Index.

Next month we will share some of the most common death loss reasons, however, the increased incidence of prolapses is certainly a contributing factor to the increase over the last year.

What does all of this tell us? As we continue to improve productivity of operations we cannot forget the importance of individual animal care. The costs of losing sows are real and need to be looked at by each operation to see what can be done to minimize those losses. Is your farm dealing with increasing female death loss and culling? What are you plans to fix the problems?

At SMS, our mission statement is to provide “Information solutions for the swine industry.” We feel with the creation of different SMS Benchmarking databases for all production areas we now have more detailed information to share with the swine industry. If your farm would like to be part of the SMS Benchmarking databases, or if you have suggestions on production areas to write columns about, please contact us at, or We enjoy being a part of the National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview team. Previous Production Preview columns can be found at

Novus offers more knowledge and value at World Pork Expo

As a science-based company, Novus takes pride in presenting quality research and data to customers to help increase understanding of animal growth, gut health, nutritional needs and solutions to optimize performance.

At this year’s World Pork Expo, Novus is taking a different approach by providing knowledge to customers visiting their tent outside the Varied Industries Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Using data backed in sound science, Novus is deploying “Knowledge Centers” to communicate product and animal performance messages.

The centers are designed to offer quality information to a broad range of audiences, from the youngest of producers to nutritionists, veterinarians and university personnel.

“By implementing these Knowledge Centers, it makes it easy to communicate our message to the diverse audiences we see at World Pork Expo. For those who want to see the data, we will have it on hand. For those who want to know what it could mean for their day-to-day operations, we have tools and visuals to show the impact our products have on their animals. And for the young audience who simply love swine production, they will get a better understanding of where different products play a role in production,” says Jared Hux, North America marketing manager, Novus International.

In addition to the Knowledge Centers, Novus will also be hosting their annual Pig Pickin’ at 5:45 p.m. June 8 at their tent, G272, along Grand Avenue. This year, Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, will be at the tent to help pull the pork provided by National Pork Producers Council, prepared by Lynch’s BBQ.

“We are pleased to have Secretary Northey at this year’s event. His dedication to agriculture, not only in Iowa but around the world, is something we at Novus share with him,” Hux states. Guests are invited to enjoy the pork and interact with Northey as well as Novus staff.

For more information, visit

Don’t be the one to tip the boat

Photo by David Rowland - Pool/Getty Images NGARUAWAHIA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 08:  Five waka, maori canoes on the Waikato River salute Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Turangawaewae Marae on November 8, 2015 in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand. The Royal couple are on a 12-day tour visiting seven regions in New Zealand and three states and one territory in Australia.

Ten people are in a canoe, trying to reach a destination by a strict deadline. Three are rowing, five are just along for the ride, and two are attempting to dump the canoe over. Stop me, if you are relating too closely with this scenario. Does this perfectly describe at least one personal experience with a team project?

Unfortunately, some of us have been in that exact canoe one too many times and can closely relate to this analogy portrayed by psychologist Tim Crowley, Ph.D., to individuals attending the SHE Summit, hosted by Boehringer Ingelheim. Although one would hope everyone would grab on to the oar and row with vigor, it rarely happens that way.

On the job or off the job successful team dynamics boil down to the attitude of the people. In this hyper-busy 24/7/365, it is tough as individuals to be upbeat and driven toward the goal at all times. “In these challenging times, rising to the demand of our professional and personal lives requires great resilience,” says Crowley.

It is incredibly easy to just coast as a member of the team or even be the one who rocks the boat when the stresses of life get you down. Bad attitudes can send waves through an organization and capsize the boat rapidly. Crowley states, “finding healthy ways to restore and refuel your inner tank is a lifestyle choice.”

He recommends seven evidence-based principles for building personal resilience.

  1. Connect to your purpose – When we know our “why” and our values, it becomes much easier to be the best we can at both work and home.
  2. Be unwaveringly optimistic – Leaders with resilience see a brighter futures. Attitudes are contagious.
  3. Build supportive relationships – The quality of your relationships with other people influences how emotionally resilient you are during stressful times.
  4. Develop mental agility – Learn the value of a good pause by stepping back and reflecting.
  5. Boost emotional intelligence – Emotionally intelligent people intentionally use their thinking and behavior to guide their emotions rather than emotions control their behavior.
  6. Maximize strengths – Focusing on what is good about yourself only leads to reducing stress, improves moods and increases performance.
  7. Use solution-focused coping – It is best to face tough times or difficult situations head-on. Inaction is a set-up to failure.

 Stronger team members build a team that can surpass goals together. This starts with you as an individual. “In my experience, you must get intentional about boosting your resilience if you want you and your team to flourish,” Crowley stresses.