Steve Jones, News Service, (515)294-4778
AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
AMES, Iowa --
SIMULATED UDDER MAY HELP PIGLETS AVOID ACCIDENTAL CRUSHING
A warm pillow that smells like "mom" may help keep newborn piglets from being crushed by their mothers. Iowa State researchers came up with a simulated sow udder that piglets can cozy up to for the first couple days of their lives, keeping them out of harm's way. "Each year an estimated 5 percent of piglets die when sows in furrowing crates accidentally lay on them," said animal scientist Don Lay. "That's a loss of almost half a billion dollars to American pork producers." The simulated udder was cheap, but effective. It was a pillowcase containing a pillow, heating pad and hot-water bottles, and wrapped in a cotton cloth that had been wound around the sow for a few days. "We found that the probability of finding a piglet on the simulated udder was almost 90 percent, compared to the probability of finding a piglet near a heat lamp, which was 72 percent." Contact Lay at (515) 294-2088 or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
REPORT RECOMMENDS MONITORING DRUG USE IN FOOD ANIMALS
Developing a better monitoring system for the use of antibiotics in food animals is one of the suggestions from a new report by the National Research Council. Food safety expert George Beran of the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine said data from the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry is sketchy. Beran helped produce the report, "The Use of Drugs in Food Animals: Risks and Benefits," released in July. The report also emphasized that antibiotics must not be overused. Antibiotic drugs are used in animals to prevent disease or promote growth. There is concern that bacteria may mutate and become resistant to the drugs, and that the bacteria could be passed to humans. The report also acknowledged the value of using the drugs for improved food safety. Contact Beran on Aug. 12 or beginning Aug. 17 at (515) 294-7630 or Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294-4778.
GRAZING CORNSTALKS/CLOVER CUTS CATTLE COSTS
Many cow-calf producers graze cows on cornstalks in the winter to reduce stored feed costs, their greatest expense. Iowa State animal scientist Jim Russell found that winter-grazing stockpiled legume forages along with cornstalks can save cow-calf producers money. He compared the performance of cows grazing berseem clover forages and cornstalks to cows grazing cornstalks alone and those fed alfalfa hay in a dry lot. Alfalfa hay was used as supplemental feed for the grazing cows to ensure adequate body condition for breeding the following summer. The performance of the groups was similar, but the cows grazing cornstalks or the berseem clover/cornstalks combination required nearly 1.2 tons less hay per cow than those on dry lot. The berseem clover/cornstalks system produced all or more than the feed needed for supplementation. Contact Russell at (515) 294-4631 or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-2314.
ODOR STUDY LOOKS AT SWINE RATIONS
Changing what a hog eats might reduce the odor of what it excretes. That's why an Iowa State animal scientist is studying a possible link between odor and swine rations. Wendy Powers has conducted feeding trials on the effects of bloodmeal in swine rations on manure composition and odor. She has found a strong trend for increased odor as the amount of bloodmeal increases in a hog's diet. The study also compared two methods of measuring odor intensity -- the electronic nose vs. a human panel. Contact Powers, animal science, at (515) 294-1635 or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.
CONTRACTS THE TOPIC OF FALL AG POLICY CONFERENCE
How are agricultural contracts affecting how farmers and agribusiness do business? That's the main question to be addressed by state and national experts at "Agricultural Contracts -- Freedom or Restraint?" The 1998 fall agricultural policy conference on Sept. 4 is sponsored by ISU's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) and ISU Extension. "Contracting and other alliances are changing the way agriculture does business," said Keith Heffernan, assistant director of CARD. "We'll look at contracting issues related to risk management, finance, food safety and quality, the environment and competitive advantage." The conference also will mark CARD's 40th anniversary. Since 1958, the center has provided information and analysis for policies on agriculture, trade, the environment, food and nutrition, and rural and economic development. Registration fee for the daylong conference is $45 before Aug. 28 and $60 after. To register, call Deb Schmidt at (515) 294-5961. For more information, contact Heffernan at (515) 294-0670 or Judith Pim, (515) 294-6257. (Reporters who wish to attend should call Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.)
STATE FAIR DISPLAYS TO HONOR GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER
Iowa State will celebrate one its most famous alumni at the Iowa State Fair Aug. 13-23. Two ISU exhibits will feature displays honoring George Washington Carver. The displays will help launch ISU's yearlong celebration, "The legacy of George Washington Carver: Inspiring students to become their best."
In the Varied Industries Building, fairgoers will see a Carver exhibit that honors ISU's first African American student and faculty member. Carver received two agriculture degrees from ISU and became a famous scientist for making hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes and other plants. Contact Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294-4778.
Visitors to the Agriculture Building can learn about Carver and how ISU's College of Agriculture is carrying on Carver's legacy. Details of his work in education, research and outreach will be matched with information on current ISU efforts. Because of Carver's work with peanuts, live peanut plants will be on display, and packets of peanut seeds and instructions on growing them will be handed out. Contact Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.
COMPETITION EXPANDS FOR MOST VALUABLE CORN, BEANS
Young people are invited to take part in the annual Corn and Soybean Quality Contest at the Iowa State Fair, sponsored by Iowa State's Grain Quality Laboratory. The contest awards prizes for samples of corn and soybeans based on the grains' estimated processing value. Crop samples in the youth contest will be compared, ranked and placed using the same valuation system used in the adult contest. The testing will take place Aug. 14 and 15 in the Agriculture Building on the state fairgrounds. For the youth contest, exhibitors will be defined as 4-H members, FFA members or others less than 21 years old. Each youth entrant will receive a prize for taking part and the top 10 places in the adult contest will receive awards. Winners will be announced at 4 p.m., Aug. 15, in the Agriculture Building. Contact Darren Jarboe, Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, (515) 294-3137, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-2314.
SITE-SPECIFIC FARMING HIGHLIGHTED AT FIELD DAYS
A project funded by the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board has ISU research teams collecting and analyzing data from corn and soybean fields on three private farms. The information gathered throughout the growing season is then matched with yield data after harvest, in an attempt to show how field and weather conditions impact yield. A field day at each location will cover research being conducted there, plus topics related to site- specific crop management and precision farming technologies. The field days will be Aug. 24, Barry Kusel farm, Manning; Aug. 26, Ron Heck farm, Perry; and Aug. 27, Don Keiper farm, Palo. Each field day begins at 5:30 p.m. Contact Greg Tylka, plant pathology, (515) 294-3021, Greg Ehm, Iowa Soybean Association, (800) 383-1423, or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.
MANURE APPLICATION FIELD DAY NEAR AMES AUG. 28
Livestock producers can see demonstrations of a variety of equipment used to inject manure into soil at a manure application field day near Ames on Aug. 28. One demonstration will use a global positioning system to apply manure to where it's needed most in the field. Demonstrations will be held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at an ISU research farm five miles west of Ames on Highway 30 and half a mile south on V Avenue. No registration is required. Contact Jeff Lorimor, agricultural and biosystems engineering, (515) 294-9806, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
FIELD DAY PRESENTS LATEST ON HOG PRODUCTION IN HOOPS
A swine hoops field day will highlight research results on producing hogs in hoop buildings. It will be held 1-3 p.m., Sept. 1, at ISU's Rhodes Research and Demonstration Farm near Rhodes. A research project began in 1997 to compare hog production in hoop buildings to production in confinement buildings. This is the first field day to discuss the research findings. Animal scientist Mark Honeyman and Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture director Dennis Keeney will review the project. Other specialists will discuss hoop environment, economics, animal behavior, ultrasound analysis and daily management of hoops. No registration is required. The farm is located a half mile north of the intersection of Highway 330 and Binford Avenue in Marshall County. Contact Denise Schwab, ISU Extension Livestock Field Specialist, (515) 484-2703, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
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