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Small ruminant (sheep and goat) / Organic Zinc
« on: December 27, 2010, 10:12:29 AM »
Research: Organic zinc improves goat performance 24 Dec 2010
To determine the effects of organic zinc (Biomet Zinc, zinc-methionine chelate, Norel) on the reproductive performances of goats and growth of their offspring, a study was conducted at the goat farm of the Animal Reproduction Research Institute (ARRI) based in El Haram, Giza, Egypt.

The control group received the control diet (containing 24 ppm of zinc) while the experimental group was given the control diet plus 0.4 gram /head/day of Biomet Zinc.
The supplementation started 1 month before the expected lambing date and lasted until 2 months post kidding.
Compared to the control group, diet supplemented with Biomet decreased the number of days to conception (43.2 vs. 54.4 days) and increased the conception rate (80 vs. 60%).
Weaning weight as well as average daily gain rate of the kids of the Biomet group was higher than that of the kids of the control group (11.39 vs. 9.11 kg, and 159 vs. 122 g/day, respectively).
It was also observed that the somatic cells count (SCC) decreased by 22% (120x103 vs. 155x103) when the chelated zinc was used.
It was concluded that supplementation with Biomet resulted in early return to post-kidding oestrus, improved the conception rate, and also led to heavier lambs at weaning.
Furthermore, the supplementation improved milk quality by decreasing its SCC.

The Home of Past, Present and Future Champions
 This tribute to GCH ++*B Hallcienda Frosty Marvin (1972 - 1982) is the combined efforts of three dairy goat breeders who have owned and/or worked with the buck.
Written for the Dairy Goat Journal, (Vol. 61 No. 3) appearing in their March, 1983 publication.
Section #1
By: Alice Hall (San Bernardino, California)

Every breeder needs a buck he can believe in! Hallcienda was fortunate to start with such a buck — perhaps out of ignorance, but the truth was, GCH ++*B Naja Goliath-Hall’s Doll turned out to be a buck a herd could believe in. He didn’t seem that way to others, and by the time he’d been zapped in the showring a few times because he lacked depth and had a terribly serrated scrotum, Hallcienda leased him out for a time.

Meanwhile, Alice Tracy of Hurricane Acres advised, “Serrated scrotums don’t mean a thing. If you believe in the buck and his pedigree, forget what everyone else says!” When Hallcienda saw what Goliath was doing for his daughters in the other herd, Hallcienda concurred with Hurricane Acres and brought the buck home.

One of Goliath’s most beautiful and productive daughters, GCH Hallcienda Cleopatra 5*M, was the daughter of a doe that had a severely undershot jaw. Since Goliath also was slightly “pouty”, Hallcienda determined never to breed 2 the two together, but the doe slipped through the fence, was bred to Goliath, and produced Cleopatra, who was probably one of the best things that ever happened to Hallcienda.

Rather than experimenting with in breeding immediately, Cleopatra was bred to *H Hallcienda Magic Garry, the son of GCH *B Black Magic’s Andre Nicki, another buck Hallcienda believed in. All it took was one look at Nicki and his daughters at a few shows and Hallcienda believed in the potential of Nicki. Nicki’s son, Garry, didn’t inspire Hallcienda as did Goliath and Nicki, but he was bred to yearling Cleopatra as a trial. The resulting daughter, Shelly, was another beautyl

Unfortunately, Shelly died young with infectious arthritis, but a repeat breeding had been made. The result was GCH ++ *B Hallcienda Antony, who was another buck Hallcienda believed in implicitly. In almost 100% of the cases, Antony improved his daughters over their dams in conformation and production.

It’s difficult to define what “believing in a buck” is. It’s sort of a gut feeling that he has what a herd needs and is going to pass that quality on. It may or may not be related to pedigree or appearance. Some instinct tells a breeder that one of a pair of twins is worth believing in and the other isn’t. A herd that is using a buck it can’t believe in, regardless of the pedigree, is on a down-hill trend.

Garry didn’t give Hallcienda that gut feeling and sure enough, he died young with infectious arthritis as did several of his daughters. Goliath was getting older, so Cleopatra was bred to her sire, Goliath, a few times. By the time she was bred to her great son, Antony, she was older, her resistance was down, and she and the triplet does she carried were lost. But, one of the Cleo-Goliath breedings resulted in triplet does, one of which was Noel. Noel was a big, rangy doe, that matured early. She was bred to Antony at eight months, to double up the breeding on Cleo.

Noel freshened in the winter at 13 months when milk was sorely needed. She had a single buck kid, born on a Saturday. He was a pretty little blond buck, but Hallcienda didn’t need a buck out of a yearling. Hallcienda needed the milk, so the little buck was taken away from Noel and brought into the house to await Tuesday’s auction.  By Tuesday, the little buck had so wormed his way into everyone’s affections that the auction was out of the question. Besides, he was rather pretty!

A high school student was found who wanted to raise a kid, and the little blond buck went to live with the boy. What a life the buck had! He named him Marvin, and Marvin lived in the boy’s bathroom for over two months. The boy often allowed Marvin to follow him to school because he knew the teachers would make him take the buck back home, and that was a good way to miss class time. Marvin became sort of an FFA mascot, being used to demonstrate dehorning, tattooing and hoof trimming at the school agriculture classes.

By the time Marvin was three-months-old, the boy’s father decided he’d out-grown the bathroom and had to find another place to live. So Marvin came home to Hallcienda. By that time it was apparent that he was quite a handsome buck and that his mother, Noel, was a good producer — a good combination. But Hallcienda still had Goliath and Antony, and it didn’t need another buck.

Then a friend called to say she needed a buck; what did Hallcienda have? Hallcienda described the buck, perhaps using the term ‘light roan’, and said, since it was a friend calling, that she could have him for $50.00. The deal was made over the telephone, and Hallcienda drove Marvin about 100 miles to his new home. The woman looked at him and said, “He’s blond! I don’t want a blond buck!” Hallcienda was shocked and disheartened. The buck was not wanted back at the farm. Besides, he didn’t know he was a goat — he thought he was a person and was a pest. He didn’t know how to relate to does — he had a lot to learn. So in disgust, Hallcienda said, “Oh, just keep him here and sell him.” However, they neglected to specify what price they wanted, so Marvin found his permanent home for $50.00.

The new owner, Barbara Thrasher, didn’t particularly like the name Marvin, but the buck came when he was called and knew the name so well, it was impossible to change it. So she added the prefix “Frosty”, and the buck became Hallcienda Frosty Marvin. Hailcienda was not overjoyed at letting a buck go for so little money, but in retrospect, it was a good deal for everyone! Marvin was coddled and loved by Barbara as he had been by the high school student. In addition, he was campaigned and used widely and wisely, and the results were worth more to Hallcienda than any outlandish original sale price would have been.

And Marvin, too, like his sire and both grandsires, was a buck a breeder could believe in — wholeheartedly!


SWINE / Alternative Protein Source for Nursery Pigs:
« on: November 15, 2010, 10:51:05 AM »
Alternative Protein Source for Nursery Pigs
Researchers at North Carolina State University have found fermented soybean meal to have great potential in weaner pig feeds.

Formulation of diets for nursery pigs requires a trade-off between utilizing protein sources that are highly palatable and digestible and those that are low cost. While the major concern of the use of animal protein sources in nursery pig diets has been cost, recent concerns over animal health and food safety related to feeding animal products back to food animals have added greater complexity to this issue. These concerns have also spurred research towards improving the quality of plant protein sources for use in diets for newly weaned pigs.

Recent work in our Department by Drs Sung Woo Kim and Eric van Heugten along with their colleagues has examined a fermented soybean meal (FSBM) product for use in diets designed for newly weaned pigs. The FSBM tested was produced by Genebiotech Co. Ltd (Seoul, Korea) by fermenting soybean meal with a fungus (Aspergillus oryzae) that has been used for human food fermentations for centuries. In addition to partially digesting the proteins in the soybean meal, thereby improving their digestibility, the fermentation process also reduced the concentrations of several anti-nutritional compounds found in soybean meal (Table 1).

Drs Kim and van Heugten conducted four separate feeding trials to examine the potential for using FSBM instead of animal protein products such as dried skim milk and plasma protein. From the results of these studies, they concluded that the FSBM was superior to soybean meal for inclusion in weaning pig diets. They also demonstrated that this product has the potential to replace dried skim milk, particularly if lactose and synthetic amino acids are utilised. Overall, this work provides valuable information regarding the suitability of FSBM for use in newly weaned pig diets.

Table 1. Composition of soybean meal before and after fermentation with Aspergillus oryzae
Item Soybean meal Fermented soybean meal
DM 89.6 ± 2.4 91.2 ± 2.1
Crude protein, DM basis 50.3 ± 1.7 a 55.3 ± 1.9 b
Lysine, DM basis 3.35 ± 0.17 3.27 ± 0.20
Threonine, DM basis 2.02 ± 0.18 2.24 ± 0.19
Tryptophan, DM basis 0.88 ± 0.05 0.72 ± 0.06
Methionine, DM basis 0.77 ± 0.05 0.82 ± 0.07
Glycinin, CP basis 8.8 ± 0.8 a 5.3 ± 0.6 b
β-Conglycinin, CP basis 23.9 ± 1.8 a 14.4 ± 1.2 b
Phytic acid2, DM basis 2.77 ± 0.09 a 1.79 ± 0.01 b
a,b Least squares within lacking a common letter differ (p<0.05)
1 Values are means of five samples ± SE
2 Values include inositol hexakisphosphate, inositol tetrakisphosphate and inositol trikisphosphate

This research is reported in its entirety as Fermented soybean meal as a vegetable protein source for nursery pigs: I. Effects on growth performance of nursery pigs in the Journal of Animal Science, 2010, 88:214-224.

November 2010

Reproduced Courtesy

POULTRY / Star Cross egg layers
« on: November 12, 2010, 11:12:47 AM »
Is anyone raising the Star Cross egg layers over the other white leg horns.Someone has told me the Star Cross produces a larger white egg over the other leg horns????

Thank you
Farmers Feed The World:

HOUSING / Guidelines for Group Housing Pregnant Sows
« on: November 05, 2010, 08:49:06 AM »

The advantages and disadvantages of the different feed ing options for group-housed sows are outlined by Dr Trish Holyoake, Technical Specialist Pig Health, Wagga Wagga in a publication from the NSW government. She also offers tips on getting each system to work to its best potential.

This Primefact provides pig owners with general guidelines to consider when designing and managing pregnant sows in groups.

What are the options?
The options for housing pregnant sows in groups revolve around the type of feeding system used. The most common systems are:

Floor feeding
Liquid trough feeding
Electronic feeding stations (EFS)
Free access feeding stalls
The suitability of each system within an existing farm will depend on cost (capital and operating), productivity of the system (pigs born/sow/year, culling rates), the producer’s ability to manage the new system and building compatibility with existing housing.

The aims of any group housing system are to control the feed intake of individual sows, provide low levels of aggression during feeding and reduce aggression around re-grouping of sows.

What Factors Affect These Outcomes?
There are advantages and disadvantages of all systems. The success of each will depend on:

Quality of husbandry – skilled and motivated stockpersons are key for early detection and appropriate treatment of sows that are sick or injured.

Space allowance. The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Pigs) states that each sow must have at least 1.4 square metres of floor space if housed in groups. The optimal space allowance to reduce the risks of injuries, skin abrasions and vulva bites has not been determined but there should be adequate space for sows to access feed and water without competition, to rest in a clean, dry area as a group and a separate area for dunging.

Quality of space. Areas where sows may commingle should be at least three metres wide, to allow sows to pass each other.

Pen divides. Solid pen divides encourage sows to lie against them. An enclosed solid area with enough space for each sow to lie separated from a slatted dunging area is ideal.

Group size. Having too many sows for each feeding station does not allow all sows enough time to access their daily feed ration. Recommendations are:
Gilts: maximum of 30 per station; Sows: maximum of 50 sows where there is only one feeder in the pen; Sows: maximum of 65 where there is more than one feeder in the pen.

Use of bedding. Studies conducted in Europe suggest that adding straw (approximately 200g per sow per day) reduces culling rates in sows housed in EFS systems compared to no-straw housing. Bedding is likely to be more advantageous in cold conditions than when it is warm.

Mixing unfamiliar sows. It is best to keep sows in stable groups. If sows must be mixed, do it after four weeks gestation (after implantation of embryos) to minimise risks of pregnancy loss.

Allow an extra five per cent of total gestation space to house sick or compromised sows. Ensure in hospital pens that about tow-thirds of the flooring has a solid, soft cover. Sows with foot and/or leg problems will benefit from being placed in recovery pens with dirt/compacted clay flooring.
The advantages and disadvantages of each of the main group housing systems are summarized below.

Floor feeding
Lowest capital cost (requires only pen/yard with solid flooring area).
Simple, low maintenance.
Allows simultaneous feeding of all sows.
It is impossible to individually feed sows a specified ration.
Competition at feeding can result in physical stress and injury.
Dominant sows may prevent low-ranking sows from eating, resulting in variable body condition among groups of sows.
It is difficult to detect reduced appetite as an early sign of illness in sows.
Litter size in sows housed in small groups immediately post-mating may be lower than in sows housed in stalls for the first four weeks of gestation.

Floor feeding
Photo courtesy of Lisbeth Ulrich Hansen, Pig Research Centre in DenmarkMove sows into floor-fed systems four weeks after mating.
Group sizes of 12 to 15 sows per pen.
Group sows according to body conditions.
No re-grouping of sows.
Feed only once daily.
Spread feed over the pen floor to allow low-ranking sows access (1.3 metres of feeding space per sow).
Liquid trough feeding
Low capital cost, simple, low maintenance.
Allows simultaneous feeding of all sows.
As for floor feeding.

Liquid feeding in trough
Photo courtesy of Lisbeth Ulrich Hansen, Pig Research Centre in DenmarkMove sows into trough-fed systems four weeks after mating.
Group sizes of 12 to 15 sows per pen.
Group sows according to body conditions.
Allow 50cm trough space per sow.
Feed once daily.
Electronic feeding stations
Allows individual sows to have a set ration of feed, according to stage of pregnancy and body condition.
Large degree of flexibility in managing dynamic groups of sows.
Computer-assisted software systems are available to aid in managing pregnant sows.
EFS must be managed well to avoid problems developing.
Feeding is not simultaneous. Poorly designed/managed EFS can result in aggression at entry and/or loitering in the feeder.
Abou rtwo per cent of sows will fail to adapt the system.

Electronic feeding station
Photo courtesy of Lisbeth Ulrich Hansen. Pig Research Centre in DenmarkSeek advice from an expert on the selection and management of EFS.
Gilts must learn to use EFS. Start training gilts to use the feeding stations at a size that they cannot turn around in the feeding station (100 kg+).
Train gilts in a separate pen similar to the gestation pen. Use a training EFS with manual control of the entry gate, trough and feed. Train gilts in small (10 to 15 gilts), stable groups.
Don’t train gilts when they are on heat or when you are flush-feeding them. The training period should last around threeo to four weeks.
Large (6m × 4.5m) nesting areas with added straw attracts the sow to the lying area. Adding straw also reduces the risks of early culling for sows in group housing.
Start the 24-hour feeding cycle between the hours of 22:00hr and 02:00hr. Behavioural studies have shown a decreased number of confrontations among sows around the feeding station when the feeding cycle starts at 22:00hr – compared to starting at 04:00hr. It seems that sows would prefer to feed in the day time – therefore, starting feeding at night allows the more dominant sows to feed first and the less dominant sows access later on.
Avoid changing group numbers. Each time more sows are added to the group it alters the equilibrium. Keep stable sow groups.
Pay special attention to gilts and parity 1 sows – these are the animals at highest risk of injury and skin abrasions.
If full-length stalls with ends that can be closed are used, sows are easily restrained for treatment or other management procedures.
Individual feeder systems require the most floor space out of all the systems.
Not possible to tailor feed rations to individual sows or stages of pregnancy unless feeding by hand.
There can be aggression at feeding times unless the feeding stalls are fitted with rear gates.
Partitions that only protect the head and shoulders of sows (‘half stalls’) may result in aggression and feed stealing.
Gilts and low-ranking sows may stay in the stalls if the outside pen environment is threatening to them.

Free access feeding stalls
Photo courtesy of Lisbeth Ulrich Hansen, Pig Research Centre in DenmarkDivide sows into groups according to body condition.
Design systems with lying areas away from the feeding/transit areas, with solid floors, straw and walls to attract sows. The lying area should allow approximately 0.6 square metres per sow. Stall systems without lying areas can result in extensive dunging in the entire area outside of the stalls.
Lock sows in the feeding stalls during the feeding time – but otherwise allow them to walk in and out freely with the backs of the stalls open.
Allow a minimum of three metres between the backs of sow stalls, to enable sows to pass each other without threat.
October 2010

AGRI-NEWS / Animal Welfare and the Veterinary Profession:
« on: October 09, 2010, 10:12:33 AM »
Animal Welfare and the Veterinary Profession: 50 Years of Change
In his paper to this year's International Pig Veterinarian's Society (IPVS) Congress in Vancouver, Canada, Dr David Fraser of the University of British Columbia described the changing reality and perceptions of animal welfare, writes Jackie Linden.

Dr Fraser opened his presentation by highlighting the recent development of animal welfare, by saying that, just nine years ago, he was involved for the first time in the development of a programme to assure their customers about the welfare of the animals in their supply chain. The company was Burger King and he was invited to serve on the advisory committee.

After a little initial scepticism, he was pleased to be involved in the discussions about maintaining public trust and 'doing the right thing' for animals. Since those early beginnings, "Burger King has done some very good things regarding animal welfare," he said.

Since then, many other organisations have become involved in animal welfare, including the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the International Finance Corporation (the investment arm of the World Bank) and the FAO. Furthermore, it is expected that a 'Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare' will soon be presented to the United Nations with the expressed support of many of the world's countries.

All these organisations and the regulatory authorities are working on science-based solutions, they say. When Dr Fraser began doing research on the welfare of pigs 40 years ago, welfare was on the outermost fringe of science,he said.

Growing Focus on Animal Welfare
Every culture has an 'animal mythology' – a set of fundamental beliefs and values regarding animals – which we can often perceive through the art and stories of the culture, explained Dr Fraser. He went on to give examples from the creation story of the Ojibway culture of central Canada and from the Bible. These demonstrate both empirical beliefs – about what animals are like and the history of our involvement with them – and evaluative or ethical beliefs about how important animals are and how they should be treated.

There were three empirical beliefs – about different appearance, different origin, and different inner life – that reinforced the idea of humans as fundamentally different from animals and helped to justify the use of animals for human purposes. But in modern culture, empirical beliefs are not fixed by the constant re-telling of traditional stories, but rather are subject to change in light of scientific discoveries and other developments, said Dr Fraser.

Over the centuries, these empirical beliefs were gradually chipped away, at least partly by science. The first breakthrough was the development of knowledge of anatomy, from which it became clear that humans are actually built on the same anatomical template as the other vertebrate animals. From this developed the proposal of evolutionary biology of the 1800s and the startling proposal that the reason why we and other species have the same anatomical structure is that we share a common evolutionary origin.

It was the study of animal behaviour in the late in the 1900s that Dr Fraser believes led to a further crucial revision in our view of animals, this one centred on their mental and emotional lives.

What is Animal Welfare?
As the current wave of concern about animal welfare began, roughly in the 1960s, a debate emerged over what animal welfare really involves and with growing globalisation, it has become a global issue, he said.

The first major criticism of confinement production systems came in the book 'Animal Machines' by the English animal advocate, Ruth Harrison in 1964, in which she described cages for laying hens and crates for veal calves, said Dr Fraser. She claimed that these systems are so unnatural that they cause animals to lead miserable and unhealthy lives.

Subsequently, key concerns centred on words such as 'pleasure', 'pain', 'suffering' and 'happiness', which may be described as affective states. In the UK, the emphasis was put more on confinement and how it restricted the animals' natural behaviour.

Dr Fraser highlighted that the central concern was for a degree of 'naturalness' in the lives of animals: that animals should be able to perform their natural behaviour, that there should be natural elements in their environment, and that we should respect the 'nature' of the animals themselves.

As he pointed out, however, farmers and veterinarians brought a different focus when they engaged in the debate. For them, animals must have freedom from disease and injury, plus food, water, shelter and other necessities of life – concerns that may be summed up as basic health and functioning of the animals.

These different aims of these groups may go hand in hand, for example, in allowing a pig to wallow in mud on a hot day because it will presumably feel more comfortable (an affective state), because it can perform its natural cooling behaviour (natural living) and because it will have less disruption of its body processes caused by heat stress (basic health).

However, the different criteria do not always go together, Dr Fraser said, citing the gestation stall, which is a way of promoting healthy weight gain and avoiding injuries from aggression but it is very unnatural and may create a life that is not very pleasurable.

Animal Welfare Science

"The single-minded pursuit of any one element of animal welfare does not guarantee a high level of welfare as judged by the others." 

As this debate unfolded in the 1960s and 1970s, people began doing scientific research on animal welfare, explained Dr Fraser. The research aimed both to make production systems more efficient by making them better suited to the animals and partly because people expected science to resolve the disagreements over the interpretation of animal welfare, he contended.

Some of the research used the basic health and functioning of animals as an indicator of animal welfare. An example was the modification of the battery cage for laying hens in Sweden, which forms the basis of animal welfare standards for cage design, firstly in Sweden and then in the European Union. Meanwhile, other scientists tried to improve animal welfare by making living conditions more 'natural' for animals, such as the development of teat feeding systems for veal calves. The use of painkillers for debudding calves would be an example of another approach – that of reducing unpleasant affective states.

Dr Fraser summed up by saying: "All three views of animal welfare have a scientific basis, and that the single-minded pursuit of any one criterion of animal welfare may fail to promote animal welfare as judged by the other criteria.

"For standards and practices to be widely accepted as improving animal welfare, they need to make a reasonable accommodation to all three."

Role of Veterinarians

"The increased focus on animal welfare, and the emerging science of animal welfare, have created expanded opportunities for veterinarians" 

What is the role of veterinarians in this world of changing values and emerging science?, Dr Fraser asked.

Firstly, he finds it important to recognise that animal welfare research is not a mature field of science. He explained that much of the research is still more conceptual than strategic, that has been carried out on research farms rather than a commercial scale and that multi-disciplinary teams are needed to look at all the implications of new ideas.

"There is a great opportunity for veterinarians to work with animal welfare scientists to refine and broaden the science, and to apply it in practical ways," he said.

Second, the increased public concern about the welfare of animals has created an expectation that veterinarians will provide leadership in promoting animal welfare, not just as technical specialists working to prevent and treat disease but also as champions of animal welfare in a broader sense that includes the different areas of concern, he said.

Dr Fraser stressed his belief that there is some urgency about fulfilling these roles. He said: "Unless scientists and veterinarians can deal with the problems, then legislators and referenda may do so instead, and the outcomes may be less than ideal for the animals and for producers."

He also expressed his concern that outdoor systems that are perceived by the public as high-welfare may in fact involve serious problems of basic health and functioning.

"There is a need for technical innovation and good standards to ensure that this well-intentioned development does lead to good welfare for the animals," he said.

Even in 2010, these basic problems as these still waiting to be solved, Dr Fraser said. He expressed his concern that some of the elements of 'animal husbandry' have been superseded by a small number of scientific specialities.

He said: "I think animal welfare science is finally restoring these missing elements of animal husbandry, but with a scientific basis that was not available a century ago. Here we see an educational role for veterinarians: to use animal welfare science as a way of restoring animal husbandry in veterinary education."

From his wide-ranging presentation, Dr Fraser said that five conclusions may be drawn.

Firstly, he said, the social concern about animal welfare that we see today has grown out of a long history of changing attitudes, driven to a large degree by scientific discoveries that narrowed the gap that we perceive between people and animals.

Social concern about animal welfare comprises three main elements: the basic health and functioning of animals; the affective states of animals, especially freedom from negative states such as pain and distress, and the ability to live in a way that suits the animals' natural behaviour and other adaptations.

Each of these elements of animal welfare has a scientific basis, said Dr Fraser, and all three have given rise to practical improvements and science-based standards. The science did not arbitrate among the different views of animal welfare. Instead, the different views of animal welfare influenced the science and contributed to the richness of its ideas and approaches.

The single-minded pursuit of any one element of animal welfare does not guarantee a high level of welfare as judged by the others. For practices and standards to be widely accepted as improving animal welfare, they need to strike a balance among all three, he said.

Finally, Dr Fraser said: "The increased focus on animal welfare, and the emerging science of animal welfare, have created expanded opportunities for veterinarians to take on new scientific and technical roles, new social leadership roles, and new educational roles in improving the lives of animals."

October 2010

Small ruminant (sheep and goat) / Farmers Turn to Milk for Fields
« on: September 11, 2010, 12:56:31 PM »
Farmers Turn to Milk for Fields
Studies Show Richer Soil After Dousings

By T. J. Greaney 

About 50 people arrived in a small Missouri town the week of June 20th with one thing on their minds: milk. But they weren't thinking about drinking it, they were thinking about dumping it. Call it a fad or a revolution, but cattle and dairy farmers say that spraying raw milk on their pastures might be the easiest way to grow thicker, more nutritious grass.

"When you start spraying milk on your fields, you're going to be thought of as a fool," chuckled Larry Sansom, a cattle farmer from Kentucky who drove six hours to learn about the method. "But I guess you've got to hold your nose and jump."

Like many discoveries, this one happened by accident. In 2002, a former steel executive, David Wetzel, was starting out his second career as a dairy farmer on a 320-acre farm in northeast Nebraska. Admittedly, he learned his new job on the fly.

"I came from a background that has nothing to do with farming," Wetzel said. "So I don't know the do's and don'ts. I don't have any relatives that would say, ‘You can't do that.' So I just kind of did what felt right."

Wetzel began making specialty butters and cheeses that required only the fats from the milk his cows produced. This left behind large quantities of skim milk as a waste product, and to dispose of it Wetzel drove up and down a portion of his pasture with a gusher of the white liquid flowing out of a tank. He dumped as much as 600 gallons of skim milk on the field every other day.

A funny thing happened. When Wetzel let his cows out to graze, they made a beeline for the patch of field that had been doused in milk. As the months wore on, Wetzel started to notice that the grass felt more supple, looked healthier and more dense in that area.

In the dead of winter with temperatures dipping to negative 10 degrees, Wetzel paid a fertilizer company to take soil samples of his land. Because the earth was frozen, the worker was unable to punch a hole into the soil anywhere on Wetzel's property until he reached the soft soil of the milk field. There, Wetzel said, the testing device went into the soil like a hot knife into butter and showed soil packed with nutrients.

So Wetzel asked his neighbor, Terry Gompert, a University of Nebraska Extension educator, to come take a look. Gompert, who is not a researcher but specializes in holistic land management, called on some favors from colleagues who helped him set up test plots to put the milk hypothesis through the wringers. After 45 days, the results were startling.

The plots treated with milk grew about 1,100 more pounds of grass per acre than untreated plots, a 26 percent increase in yield. Also, the soil was 18 percent softer than untreated soil according to compaction tests — meaning it had a greater "porosity" or ability to absorb water and air.

More than that, Gompert said, the grass just looked healthier with fewer lesions or yellow discolorations.

While stressing that much more research is needed, Gompert said the findings make sense because milk is food for the invisible bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes that teem inside a healthy soil.

"Our unfair advantage is getting the microbes to work for us," Gompert said. The milk "is just feeding the workers."

Raw milk is a veritable stew of protein and sugar complexes that microbes need for growth. Additionally, raw milk is one of the best sources of vitamin B found in nature and it brims with enzymes that can break down food for microbes and plants. Many farmers, Gompert said, have heedlessly scorched microbe activity in their pastures with years of tillage, chemical use and overgrazing.

So on Thursday and Friday, Ralph Voss, a retired Osage County associate circuit court judge and cattle farmer, held a conference at the Osage Community Center to help teach farmers about this unusual use for raw milk. Participants came from as far away as Montana to hear Gompert and Wetzel's story.

After the lectures and a lunch, attendees were invited to inspect an acre of land on Voss' farm where he had sprayed milk on one side and sea salt on another 27 days earlier. On a scorching hot day, members of the group kneeled down in shin-high grass to feel the soil and see the grass quality. Several even brought hand-held "refractometers," tiny devices that measure the sugar content of a plant. Others took turns plunging a "penetrometer" into the soft earth.

The measurable results on Voss' land were similar to the Nebraska study. The soil on the milk-treated half of the land was significantly softer and had nearly 700 pounds more grass per acre than the side treated with sea salt. Many in attendance came away impressed and said they would spray milk on their own test plot to see the results.

"There's only one dairy farmer in my county, and I don't know how I'm going to ask him to buy 100 pounds of milk," Sansom said. "He's going to ask me what I plan to do with it."

Miriam Carter who, along with husband Dale, milks about 200 dairy cows in Mountain Grove, said that if this method means they save money on fertilizer and her cows can consume more calories as they graze, she can't afford to ignore it.

"You can't afford to accept the way it's always been done," Carter said, "especially when times get tough, you need to start pushing parameters."

Something simular to this has been going on for some years now in the Philippines under natural farming practices.N.America is just learning about this all natural approach to farming.

SWINE / Enriched Diet Reduces Pig Aggression
« on: September 09, 2010, 10:05:48 AM »
Tryptophan-Enriched Diet Reduces Pig Aggression
Supplementing the diet of young gilts with amino acid, tryptophan, made them less aggressive and easier to manage, according to new research from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

When pigs are subjected to the aggressive behaviour of other pigs, they become chronically stressed, which interferes with their ability to fight off disease and maintain typical growth levels.

Now scientists have found that feeding the amino acid tryptophan to young female pigs as part of their regular diet makes them less aggressive and easier to manage. Tryptophan, which is only acquired through diet, is the precursor for serotonin, which is a cerebral neurotransmitter that helps to control emotion and aggression.

In the study, a diet with 2.5 times the normal amount of tryptophan was fed for one week to three-month-old grower pigs and six-month-old finisher pigs. Another group of pigs received a normal diet.

Behavioural activity and aggressiveness were measured before and after the seven days of diet supplementation.

The supplemented diet raised blood concentrations of tryptophan in three-month-old females by 180 per cent and by 85 per cent in six-month-old females and reduced aggression and overall behavioural activity among the younger female pigs.

The research was carried out by Jeremy Marchant-Forde and Heng-Wei Cheng, USDA-ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit, West Lafayette, Indiana.

September 2010

SWINE / Gilts:Rearing for Maximum Protein Gain or Back Fat?
« on: September 03, 2010, 11:01:00 AM »
Gilts: Rearing for Maximum Protein Gain or Back Fat?
It is important to meet the protein requirements of the gilt to prevent a delay in reaching puberty or a reduction in ovulation rate, according this BPEX publication in the series Research into Action.

Over the last 10 to 20 years, selection has led to the development of very lean genotypes that have very different body composition to those previously, including:

they mature later (later puberty)
they are heavier and leaner
they have a higher ovulation rate (but ovulate smaller, lower quality oocytes), and
they are more likely to return to heat during lactation.

Figure 1. Gilts fed low-lysine diets during rearing. P2 values were 4 to 5mm greater than those fed a high-protein diet

Figure 2. Gilts fed high-lysine diets during rearing. Gilts appeared fatter than those fed low-lysine diets but, in fact, they had lower P2 valuesIn these modern lean genotypes, body protein mass may be more important than backfat for lifetime performance and changes in body condition will primarily arise from gains and losses in lean mass and, to a lesser extent, body fatness. Based on recent studies (Foxcroft, 2005; Meat and Livestock Commission, 1998; Rozeboom et al, 1996; Williams et al, 2005), there may be a very poor relationship between lifetime productivity and level of body fat. This may reflect the fact that the majority of tissue mobilisation in young lactating sows is protein and not fat.

Data indicated that on many farms lifetime productivity ranged between 30 and 40 piglets per sow and only a few sows achieved the potential of 60 or more. To achieve profit from a sow, at least three litters are required and with 40 to 50 per cent of sows being culled before they reach their third parity. This is an area which should be given careful consideration.

Although measuring backfat does still have a place, weight and general body condition may be more useful measures for assessing gilts and deciding whether or not they are suitable for breeding. However, care must be taken as Figures 1 and 2 illustrate how a visual assessment of gilt body condition can be misleading in terms of fat and protein deposition.

Longevity will be improved by avoiding rapid weight gain before first service. Research indicates that the ideal weight range at first service is 135 to 150kg, with a body condition score (BCS) of 3.

If gilts weigh much less than 135kg at first service, there is a risk of the following problems occurring:

low bodyweight at first farrowing
low body reserves at first farrowing
high anoestrus rate after first weaning
high risk of early culling, and
low production over first three parities.
Conversely, if gilts weigh more than 150kg at first service, the following problems may occur:

high body weight at first farrowing
high gilt cost to first farrowing
high nutrient requirements, and
high risk of early culling.
The feeding programme should limit weight loss during lactation and ensure young sows are able to maintain condition during subsequent pregnancies to farrow with a BCS of 3.

Diet specification (lysine and DE) by stage of production
Stage Lysine (%) MJ DE/kg
Up to first service (100–135kg)* 0.9–1.0 13.8
Gestation 0.7–0.8 13.5
Lactation 1.0 14.5
* restrict intake to 80–90% appetite

A major consequence of not meeting the protein (or amino acid) requirements of the gilt can be a delay in reaching puberty and a reduction in ovulation rate, both of which are costly in terms of productivity.

Weight and body condition are only two of the factors that influence gilt performance and longevity.

Considered alone, they will not guarantee good lifetime productivity but they are two of the major reasons for poor performance and premature culling, along with lameness.

The performance of gilts and young sows should be evaluated and discussed with the unit’s nutritionist, vet and breeding company and appropriate feeding strategies decided. This should take place on a regular basis as gilt requirements can change over just a few years.

August 2010

Small ruminant (sheep and goat) / Sheep Raising Has Potential:
« on: September 01, 2010, 11:25:30 AM »
Sheep Raising Has Potential
Sheep raisers in the Philippines are much less than goat raisers. That’s probably because most Filipinos have been used to eating goat rather than sheep. But there is an increasing awareness of the potentials of sheep production as a possible money-maker for local farmers.

That’s the belief of Jonie and Jeff Valencia, the father and son tandem who run the Ebenezar Goat Farm in Brgy. Arangureng, Capas, Tarlac. The Valencias have been importing small ruminants from Australia since 2005 which they sell to local farmers as well as to the government’s small livestock production program.

During their first three years of operating their goat farm, they were importing only goats for breeding.

They have imported 1,300 goats for Congressman Abdullah Dimaporo, for instance. Another recent big shipment of goats numbering 766 was for the government. Of course, they also sell a lot of goats for breeding to individual farmers.

What they have observed is that there is also a increasing interest in sheep, especially the Dorper breed. It all started when Jonie and Jeff were toured through the help of the Australian Trade Commision to the major goat breeders in that country in 2008. Because there was no more goat rancher that was near their last destination, their guide brought them to a 75-year-old woman, Judy Murphy, who was raising more than 500 Dorper sheep in the state of Victoria.

The old woman told the Valencias that it is so easy to take care of sheep. In fact, she said, her animals are let loose on the range and she only visits them once a month. She sells the marketable animals for meat.

That set the father and son thinking. They eventually learned that sheep is much less aggressive than goats. The goats will damage the trees if they are ranged in a fruit tree plantation, but the sheep will not. The sheep will just browse the grasses and will keep them down. In fact, that’s the reason why they are called live mowers for orchards.

The Valencias then started to import some breeders of sheep. And to their surprise, an increasing number of local farmers are buying their own sheep for breeding. Among the well known personalities who have bought Dorper breeders are basketball star and former representative Dodot Jaworski, former congressman Toti Carino, Congressman Abdullah Dimaporo, and several others.

The Valencias are particularly interested in the Dorper sheep. It has short hair and is adapted to the hot tropical climate of the Philippines. It grows fast and is much bigger than the native sheep usually grown by farmers here. A mature male Dorper says Jeff weighs about 150 kilos while a female weighs around 90 kilos. One three-month-old kid of a pregnant Dorper imported from Australia, born last April in Tarlac, was already 40 kilos during our visit.

The money-making potential is good. Those who produce breeders using purebred stocks can make a lot of money. Island-born sheep that are 8 months old sell for about P20,000.

By Zac B. Sarian

Small ruminant (sheep and goat) / PL 480 news update
« on: August 12, 2010, 11:53:11 AM »
Due to my connections in the goat business,I have been talking with one of the breeders of nubians that is part of this package.Some of the email has been deleted for personal reasons.

I am so glad someone is interested in what is happening ! All goats are ADGA registered. How did you find  out who was shipping goats ??
Daniel ******** has been in charge of the Dairy Goat portion of the shipment.
His assoc. Mr. ****** & 3 gentlemen from the Philippines came to our farm to look at the stock & check registrations. I believe they found most of us by being referred by breeders they had already contacted.
We are in the Pacific Northwest. The six breeders from our immediate area all breed & show ADGA registered dairy goats. Some also have Grade A dairies. Our goats show & milk. All 6 of us have stock that competes at the National level & I believe 5 of the 6 have had animals in the National spotlight sales.
I know most of the folks in the Oregon group as well & they also have well bred stock.
The does coming your way, at least from this area are top blood lines. These does are in top shape & will travel with signed registrations. They should arrive in the same condition as they are not going to be traveling long. *****************************, ********************************************************************************. I live 10 miles from the export point.
******************************, as we will be most interested in how they adjust.
Pat L****

SWINE / Birthweight Does Not Impact Carcass,Meat Quality:
« on: August 02, 2010, 08:22:01 AM »
Piglet Birthweight Does Not Impact Carcass, Meat Quality
CANADA - Increasing litter size led to a reduction in mean birth weight of the piglets, which did prolong the time needed to reach market weight but had no negative effects on pork quality, according to A.D. Beaulieu and co-authors.


A.D. Beaulieu of the Prairie Swine Centre and colleagues there and with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and PIC have recently published a paper in Journal of Animal Science. The objective of the study, they explain, was to investigate the relationships between birth weight, birth order or litter size on growth performance, carcass quality and eating quality of the ultimate pork product.

They collected data from 98 pig litters and, with the addition of recording birth weight and birth order, farrowing and piglet management were according to normal barn practices.

In the nursery and during grow-out, the pigs received the normal feeding programme for the barn and, with the addition of individual tattooing, were marketed as per standard procedure. From 24 litters, selected because they had at least 12 pigs born alive and represented a range of birth weights, four piglets were chosen (for a total of 96 piglets) and sent to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada-Lacombe Research Centre (Lacombe, Alberta, Canada) when they reached 120kg for extensive meat quality and sensory analysis.

Individual bodyweight (BW) was measured at birth, on the day of weaning, five weeks after weaning, at nursery exit, at first pull and at the time of marketing.

Litter sizes were divided into three categories: small (3 to 10 piglets), medium (11 to 13 piglets) and large (14 to 19 piglets).

There were four birth-weight quartiles: 0.80 to 1.20, 1.25 to 1.45, 1.50 to 1.70, and 1.75 to 2.50kg.

Increased litter size resulted in reduced mean birth weight (P<0.05) but had no effect on within litter variability or carcass quality (P>0.05) when slaughtered at the same end-point.

Lighter birth-weight pigs had reduced BW at weaning, five and seven weeks post-weaning, and at first pull and had increased days to market (P<0.05).

Birth weight had limited effects on carcass quality, weight of primal cuts, objective quality and overall palatability of the meat at the same slaughter weight (P>0.05).

Beaulieu and co-authors concluded that increased litter size resulted in decreased mean birth weight but no change in days to market. Lighter birth-weight pigs took longer to reach market. Despite some differences in histological properties, birth weight had limited effects on carcass composition or final eating quality of the pork when slaughtered at the same BW, and large litter size resulted in more pigs weaned and marketed than the smaller litters.

They added that, under the conditions of this study, other than increased days to market, there is no reason based on pig performance or pork quality to slow down the goal of the pork industry to increase sow productivity as a means to increase efficiency.

Beaulieu A.D., J.L. Aalhus, N.H. Williams and J. F. Patience. 2010. Impact of piglet birth weight, birth order, and litter size on subsequent growth performance, carcass quality, muscle composition, and eating quality of pork. J. Anim Sci. 2010. 88:2767-2778. doi:10.2527/jas.2009-2222.

It is with great pleasure I wish to announce we have the first 2 bucklings born this past weekend from our kalahari red boer sire and 2 nubian upgraded does.What makes this exciting is the fact the 2 does, the first one a F1 upgrade (50% nubian and 50% native) and the second doe a F2 upgrade (75% nubian and 25% native) makes this a made in the Philippines true meat goat for the future meat industry.To be a true made in the Philippines goat there would have to be some native bloodlines in the new breed.We wait for our other does some F1s and F3s to kid this year to begin our new meat line which we will market now as MS ELITE REDLINE.Our breeding plan was in the works for the past year but we only made the announcement about such a breed this past week as we knew 2 of our does would be kidding soon.Our breeding goals was planned as follows.

Kalahari red boer sire crossed to a F1 doe,offspring born is of a red colour coat
Kalahari red boer sire crossed to a F2 doe,offspring born is a tri colour coat,red,black and tan.

From the native doe we hope for-hardiness, prolific and extended breeding season with twins and triples,excellent mothering,good butterfat content.

From the nubian % doe we hope for-pigmented skin,extended breeding season with twins and triples,high butter fat and solids content,good flavor meat product,good size goat.

From the purebred boer we hope for-pigmented skin,extended breeding season with twins and triples,high butterfat and solids content,double muscle with good ADG (average daily gain).

We have bred as far as I know,this first 3 breed meat goat for the better of the meat industry as a whole and will follow the progess with eyes wide open as we hope to breed a meat goat with the dark pigmented skin,high profit returns and low maintenance.Other attempts were bred at only the F1 upgrade level the 3 way cross.The goat needs to do well without the need for bagged concentrates but with some supplements of corn and rice bran which is much cheaper than bagged concentrates.The goat needs to do well on forage as its main feed source.

This goes to show with a good breeding plan in place and alot of luck it is possible to breed a better goat in the Philippines.This is only in the early stages and will require alot of hard work yet to prove this breed will be successful in the future.MS ELITE REDLINE looks like a winner.

buckling from F1 is named Redline Rover
buckling from F2 is named Redline Tri

Will post pictures when these bucklings are 6 months old and past the critical weaning stage.

SWINE / Milk Production and Nutritional Requirements of Modern Sows
« on: July 10, 2010, 11:10:49 AM »
Milk Production and Nutritional Requirements of Modern Sows
Milk production levels of over 11 kg per day day can be achieved by today's sows in commercial situations, providing that specific needs are met for lysine and energy intake, according to Casey Neill and Noel Williams of PIC North America in a paper presented at the London Swine Conference 2010.


The modern white line sow has been selected for large litters and milk production and the evidence is clear on sow farms. Many sow farms have been increasing total born and weaning large litters with heavier pigs. With litter size continuing to improve and lactation length increasing to around 21 days, the demand for milk production must continue to increase to meet the increasing demand of heavier pigs. Modern sows can produce 10 to 12 kg milk per day (Aherne, 2007) with day 21 of lactation being the peak of production. In fact, sows can produce more milk per kg of body weight than cows. If a 182 kg sow produces 11 kg of milk per day, that would be 0.06kg of milk per kilo of body weight. A 909kg cow can produce 45.5kg of milk per day that would be 0.05kg of milk per kilo of body weight (Goodband, personal communication).

Milk production by the mammary glands is influenced by genetics and nutrition (Tri-State Swine Nutrition Guide, 1998). To maximise milk production in sows, it takes many factors besides genetics and nutrition. Other factors include feed intake (frequency of feeding), environment (farrowing house temperature), length of lactation, body condition and water intake. One example of management that decreases milk production is restricting feed intake, which will decrease milk production in gilts and sows (Pluske et al., 2009).

With the correct selection of genetics, the right environment and management, there can be an increase in milk production and therefore heavier weaning weights.

Potential for Milk Production in Commercial Units
As sows have been selected for greater milk production and productivity levels have been improved in commercial units, both milk production and litter weaning weights have increased substantially. In USA, there are examples of units where sows are weaning total litter weaning weights of over 76kg on 20-day lactation (Table 1). With increased potential for milk production, management and nutritional factors must be changed to meet these demands for lactation.

Table 1. Commercial production for milk production (January–June 2007)a
a PIC Commercial Camborough 1070 Females located in Midwest USA. b Assumes 4g milk per gram of piglet growth
Nutritional Requirements for Optimum Milk Production
Sows can achieve and maintain high levels of milk production throughout their productive life if given adequate levels of energy and nutrients. The most critical nutrients for maintaining optimum lifetime milk productivity are energy and amino acids. Table 2 shows the predicted lysine needs of prolific first litter sows based on current estimated milk production potential.

Table 2. Predicted lysine need for first parity sowsa
a,b Adapted from Boyd et al., 2002 and Pettigrew, 1993
These estimates for lysine needs have been validated in a series of studies designed to validate amino acid needs of PIC sows in commercial research conditions (Srichana et al., 2007). In these studies, PIC C-22 sows in parities 1 through 4 were fed isocaloric (3.46 Mcal ME/kg) corn/ soybean meal lactation diets ranging from 0.95 to 1.35 per cent total lysine. Diets were given to sows from day 112 of pregnancy throughout the 19-day lactation period. Feed intake was recorded with a computerised feeding system that insured ad-libitum feed intake. Figure 1 demonstrates the estimated lysine requirement (per cent and g/day) and milk production (kg/day) for PIC C-22 sows in parities 1 through 4.

Figure 1. Lysine requirements of PIC sows
In summary of these sets of experiments, total lysine intakes of 70g per day or 62 grams of SID lysine per day optimise reproductive and milk production performance in PIC sows.

Because gilts eat 10 to 15 per cent less than sows, the percentage SID lysine in the lactation must increase compared to a mature sow herd. Because the target is 62g SID lysine per day, feed formulation must be done based on feed intake and not only percentage SID lysine. To prevent a parity 2 dip, the gilt must be fed properly and allowed full feed after farrowing. Firstly, the gilt loses more than 10 per cent of her body weight during lactation, then the subsequent litter will suffer with low production.

Figure 2. Impact of body weight loss on subsequent performance (Parity 1 gilts)

Figure 3. Effect of dietary lysine intake on piglet ADG (g/d) of gilt litters
Treatment effect P=0.0117, Linear response P=0.0004; SEM=7.84

Figure 4. SID lysine requirement of PIC lactating sows
In addition to lysine requirements, the maximum amount of synthetic lysine in lactation diets and the ideal ratios of other amino acids have recently been validated (Shrichana et al., 2007). Not only will this improve performance but lower diet cost. Table 3 shows reproductive and milk production response to increasing levels of dietary synthetic lysine.

Table 3. Maximum use of crystalline amino acids in lactating sows a
a Shrichana et al., 2007. 283 Primiparous PIC C22 Sows. Total Amino acid ratios used in diets: Methinone+Cystine: Lysine, 58%; Threonine:Lysine,Tryptophan:Lysine, 18%; Valine:Lysine, 71%.
These studies indicate that up to 0.30 per cent synthetic lysine can be added to primiparous sow diets without deleteriously affecting reproductive or milk production performance. This response has also been validated in older parity sows (Allee, 2007 personal communication).

With updated nutrition requirements we have included updated SID amino acid ratios (Table 4).

Table 4. SID amino acid ratios
Feeding Management Requirements for Optimum Milk Production
In addition to amino acid intake, proper energy intake is essential for maximising milk production in sows. Both the amount of and type of energy can influence milk production.

Several ways to increase feed intake have been evaluated in commercial sow production. Basic feeder design and feeding pattern have recently been evaluated in commercial conditions to evaluate methods to maximize feed intake and thus milk production.

Recently in the United States, various forms of self-feeders have been evaluated in order to maximise feed intake. PIC has collaborated on various trials to determine the efficacy of newly designed self feeders in commercial systems. Although there exists various options within the industry, the authors have most extensively evaluated the INTaK Ad-Lib Lactation Feeding System. Commercial field research has demonstrated an improvement of seven per cent in feed intake compared with hand-feeding systems, along with less labour required for feeding. Figure 5 represents an illustration of an automated feeder.

Figure 5. Illustration of self feeder
In addition to evaluation of self feeders, we have evaluated optimum feeding pattern for maximising lactation intake in commercial systems. In a recent study, the following feeding patterns were evaluated with self feeding systems (Tables 5 and 6 - Kummer, PIC Symposium 2007).

Data from Tables 5 and 6, demonstrate the mild restriction for 3 days followed by full feeding from day 4 through the end of lactation resulted in increased feed intake and reduced body weight loss. Based on these data, the recommendation for feeding PIC sows is to scale feed at 1.8, 1.8, and 2.7 kg for days 0,1, and 2, respectively of lactation followed by ad-libitum access to feed. These data also more fully illustrate the potential for feed intake and milk production for PIC females in parities 1 and 2.

Table 5. Evaluations of various lactation feeding patterns

Table 6. Response to lactation feeding patternsa
a Adapted from Kummer, 2007. 200 PIC Camborough P1 and P2 sows. b,c Means with different superscripts differ, P<0.05
Bump Feeding in Late Gestation
There is limited research data on increasing feed in late gestation. However, it is common practice to increase feed by 0.5 to 1.0kg the last two to three weeks of gestation to support the increased litter growth. When sows are in proper body condition, bump feeding is recommended. However, if sows and gilts are over condition, bump feeding is not recommended. With the increase in feed costs, many producers are questioning the importance of bump feeding as it could save $3.00 to 5.00 per sow in feed costs.

A recent trial conducted by Shelton et al. (2009), used 108 PIC Camborough gilt and sows for a bump feeding trial. The researchers increased feed by 0.90 kg at day 90 of gestation or did not increase feed. The birth weight of pigs from gilt litters that were bump fed had increased (P<0.01, Feed Level) weights. However there were no differences in birth weight from sows that were fed increased levels. The researchers concluded little response to bump feeding.

One area to point out is the amount of feed that was fed from day 35 to 90 of gestation. Table 7 shows that the sows were fed 2.60 kg per day of a corn-soybean meal diet. In most production systems sows are fed 2.0 kg from day 35 to 90 of a lower energy diet with wheat midds, soy hulls or DDGS. This may have caused some over conditioning.

If sows and gilts are being fed 1.8 to 2.0kg per day in gestation, then the recommendation is to bump feed at day 90. If gilts and sows are over conditioned then do not bump feed. More research is needed to better obtain a conclusion.

Table 7. Bump feeding in late gestation
Added Fat in Lactation
This is another area of limited research. An abstract from the 2010 Midwest Animal Science meetings by Rosero et al. (2010) used 337 sows (PIC Camborough) in Oklahoma during the months of July to September with added fat levels of 0, two, four and six per cent. The fat source was an animal-vegetable blend.

The researchers reported that when caloric intake was increased there were no beneficial effects on any measured criteria, except for improved litter gain in P3+ sows.

Another internal research trial was conducted with 1,020 PIC gilts and sows with two treatment levels of 0 and five per cent added fat. The weaning weight from pigs that nursed from gilts and sows fed five per cent added fat were 0.18kg heavier (P<0.001). However, the difference in weight was not maintained at 22 weeks after weaning. There were no differences in sow performance reported.

The modern sow has a tremendous capacity for milk production given proper nutrition and feeding management. Milk production levels of over 11 kg per day can be achieved in commercial situations. To achieve these levels, specific needs for lysine and energy intake must be achieved.

These levels are well defined for PIC females and are supported by commercial research. This paper serves as a guide for nutritional and feeding management for PIC sows.

Aherne, F. X. 2007. Feeding the Lactating Sow. Accessed August 10th, 2007.
Aherne. 1998. Feeding lactating primiparous sows to establish three divergent metabolic states: III. milk production and pig growth. J. Anim.Sci. 76:1165-1171.
Boyd, R.D., M.E. Johnston, and G. Castro. 2002. Nutrition and Management of the Sow to Maximize Lifetime Productivity. Advances in Pork Production, Volume 13.
Goodband, R. D., 2007. Personal Communication.
Kummer, R. 2007. Production Management to Wean the Most Pigs. Presented at the PIC Annual Large Producer Symposium, 2007.
Nutrient Requirements of Swine. 1998. National Research Council (10th Edition). National Academy Press. 2101 Constitution Ave., NW. Washington, D.C. 20418.
Pettigrew, J.E. 1993. Amino acid nutrition of gestating and lactating sows. Biokyowa Technical review, St Louis, Missouri.
PIC. 2008. Nutrition Recommendations.
PIC Nutrition Technical Update. 1999. Concepts for feeding prolific PIC sows.
PIC Fundamentals of gilt and sow management. 2007.
PIC Technical Memo 171. 1997. Amino acid requirements of the lactating sow: Literature Review. Adapted and improved from K. Touchette M.Sc. Thesis, University of Missouri.
Pluske, J. R., I. W. Williams, L. J. Zak, E. J. Clowes, A. C. Cegielski, and F. X. Shelton, N.W., J.M. DeRouchey, C.R. Neill, M.D. Tokach, S.S. Dritz, R.D. Goodband and J.L. Nelssen. 2009. Effects of Increasing Feeding Level During Late Gestation on Sow and Litter Performance. Kansas State University Swine Day 2009, Report of Progress 1020, p38- 50.
Srichana, J.L. Usry., C.D. Knight, L. Greiner, and G. L. Allee. ASAS Midwest Proceedings, 2007. Abstract 180.
Srichana, J.L. Usry., C.D. Knight, L. Greiner, and G. L. Allee. ASAS Midwest Proceedings, 2007. Abstract 182.
Srichana, Pairat. 2006. Amino Acid Nutrition in Gestation and Lactating Sows. PhD Thesis. University of Missouri.
Tri-State Swine Nutrition Guide. 1998. Lactation. Accessed August 8th, 2007.
Williams, N, R. Kummer, J. Pinilla, J. Piva and C. Neill. 2007. Milk production and nutritional requirements in modern sows. ABRAVES. Association of Brazilian Veterinarians.
This paper was presented at London Swine Conference – Focus on the Future 32 on 31 March to 1 April 2010.

Small ruminant (sheep and goat) / The Many Uses of Goat Milk:
« on: July 08, 2010, 11:27:38 AM »
The Many Uses of Goat Milk

By Shelene Costello 

I love to show my dairy goats, and in order to do so, I tend to keep a few more than I would if I had the goats just for the home milk supply. Since I have not pursued selling milk to customers, it means I have lots of milk to find ways to use around the farm. I make cheese, butter, ice cream, smoothies and more, and I use the whey from the cheese in baking, as well as giving extra whey and milk to the livestock guardian dogs, the cats and the poultry to supplement their diets. It's amazing how many ways I can find to use the milk, and I'm hearing more ideas from others all the time.

Milk makes a good base for soups, and it can be substituted for the liquid in most baking and cooking. I remove a bit of the other fats or oils from baking when using milk, especially when using the high butterfat Nigerian milk. I also use whey from cheesemaking in the soups and baking, as well as feeding it back to other animals on the farm. Bread made with whey or milk in the recipe makes for a heartier version that is quite nutritious and good tasting.

A simple refreshing drink can be made by flavoring the milk. My nieces love their fresh goat milk with a dash of vanilla and a spoonful of sugar or honey. Several of my nieces and nephews love chocolate milk, as do I, whether made with a commercial flavoring or with melted real chocolate. Hot, or cold from the fridge, or warm and fresh from the goat, flavored milks are a hit with the kids and adults. I have to admit, many a morning I have carried out a glass with chocolate in it, to milk a goat directly into that glass for warm chocolate milk for breakfast.

Fresh juices mixed with milk make good-tasting drinks. Carrot and orange juice are the two I've tried and liked. A quick smoothie in the blender can be made by using milk and whatever fruits, berries or melons, fresh or frozen, are at hand. This is a nice morning drink or in the heat of the day.

My family makes a quick soft-serve ice cream in the blender. Fresh goat milk, frozen berries or fruit, a bit of sweetener, and a dash of vanilla. Blend to a thick, almost shake consistency, and it's ready to eat. Any ice cream recipe for the homemade ice cream freezers can be adapted with goat milk and goat cream to make wonderful harder ice creams.

There are several quick and easier cheeses to make with fresh milk, which I've made plenty of. The simple vinegar or acid cheese, chévre made with cultures, mozzarella, and feta are just a few. These simple cheeses are easy to incorporate into other recipes such as manicotti, lasagna (made with goat meat as well) and more. Amazing how many things one can find to stick that luscious goat cheese into.

Then there are the aged cheeses like cheddar and parmesans. I haven't tried those yet, but they are on my list of things to try. I've talked to a few others with dairy animals who are making aged cheeses, and they love them. They're a bit tricky to make until one gets the hang of it, but so worth it they tell me. It's going to require a dedicated area to age the cheeses, so I'm on the lookout for a small fridge that can be set to a moderate temperature and kept at the proper moisture for a cheese cave.

Quite a few of my friends make kefir with the kefir grains, regularly. The grains multiply when growing in the milk. Some drink it the way it grows, others flavor it with various fruity flavors to vary it from day to day. There is a culture that can be bought to make kefir, but it's not self-perpetuating like the kefir grains are.

Yogurt made with goat milk is a bit different than typical store-bought yogurt with cow milk, in my experiences. I've found it to be a bit thinner and runnier, but very tasty and takes flavorings very well. (Ed. note: Add powdered milk to yogurt to thicken it.) After making yogurt, it can be drained through cheesecloth to make yet another soft cheese that is quite versatile.

I skim off cream from the milk regularly, and put it in the freezer in a container until I get enough to make a batch of butter. It's easy to do low-tech, by putting room-temperature cream in a canning jar, put the lid on tightly and roll under the foot while rocking and doing something else, like watching movies, reading or working on the computer. It's also a good job for children to burn off a bit of energy to have them take turns shaking the jar until it begins to make thumping noises from the clumps of butter. They often enjoy watching their butter miraculously come to life in that jar of cream.

Butter can also be made in the blender or mixer without the physical effort of a human, which is nice, the older I get. My sister and many of my friends make soaps and lotions out of goat milk as well. These are very moisturizing products for the skin.

The longer I raise dairy goats, the more ways I find to use up all the wonderful milk my goats produce. It's just one more way we try to make our homestead pay its own way, and we reap the rewards of our chosen lifestyle. When I am looking for goat milk recipes or new ideas to try, I often turn to some books like the following: Goat's Produce Too, by Mary Jane Toth; Cheese Making Made Easy, by Rikki Carroll (available from the Dairy Goat Journal Bookstore); or The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Juliette Baracli de Levy. (This last one has some recipes for curdling the milk with herbs.)

There are a number of great sources for cheesemaking supplies; one of the best I've heard of is New England Cheesemaking. They seem to carry any and everything needed to make cheese of any kind and are a wonderful source of information. There are sites on the Internet that discuss cheesemaking as well, where cheesemakers share ideas and help.

Simple Quick Soft-Serve Ice Cream

Fresh goat milk
Frozen milk cubes (goat milk frozen in ice cube trays and saved for ice cream making)
Fresh or frozen fruit of choice
Sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, Splenda)
Real vanilla

Add enough frozen milk cubes to fill 1/3 of the blender, add another 1/3 of fruit, pour in milk to cover and add sweetener to taste along with a dash of vanilla. Blend to a soft serve or milkshake consistency and enjoy!

Vinegar, or Acidic Cheese

2 gallons goat milk
1/2 cup or more vinegar or lemon juice

Heat milk to at least 100°F (most recipes call for up to 185°F, and you can do that if you choose) in a stainless steel pot. Add vinegar or lemon juice until the milk begins to curdle, approximately 1/2 cup for 2 gallons of milk. Once the milk begins to curdle, stir well, and cover and let sit with no heat under it for an hour or more.

Then ladle cheese curds into a lined colander (cheese cloth, new diaper material, pillow case linen, or layers of good-quality paper towels) and let drain over another pan to catch the whey. You can stop draining while soft and creamy for a soft spreadable cheese, or drain longer for a drier, crumbly cheese.

Mix in sea salt to taste (approximately 1 teaspoon) and whichever seasonings you choose. Dill, green onion, garlic and herbs—the choices are limitless.

Chill and enjoy on breads, crackers, salads, in pasta dishes like Manicotti and more.

Fried Cheese Sticks

Make cheese above, mold the cheese after draining fairly dry into carrot-stick shapes or into a rectangular box lined with parchment paper. Cut into strips and freeze individually on cookie sheets. Take from freezer and batter with your choice of batters, then fry quickly in hot oil.

Homemade Cheese "Ravioli"

Fresh goat cheese (chévre, vinegar cheese, mozzarella or other soft cheese)
Wonton skins (sold in grocers for oriental wontons)

Keep a wet towel over the wonton skins while working to keep them soft and pliable so they won't crack.

Fill each skin with a dab of cheese, (I find that frozen cheese works best, as it doesn't melt clear out of the ravioli), fold over and seal the edges with egg whites brushed on the seams. Bake, boil or fry the raviolis and serve them with a good red tomato sauce of your choice.

Manicotti with Goat Cheese

Manicotti shells
Fresh goat cheese (chévre, vinegar cheese)
Mozzarella (goat, of course!)
A good red sauce, marinara, garlic or other sauce of your choice
One egg

I use a cheese that is flavored with dill, oregano or an Italian blend of flavorings.

Mix mozzarella cheese, soft cheese, and egg together in a bowl.

In a 9 x 13 inch pan, pour a small layer of sauce in the bottom, fill each manicotti noodle with cheese mixture, and lay them in the pan, pour sauce over the entire set of noodles, cover and bake at 350°F until shells begin to soften well. Uncover and add more cheese to the top and bake until it melts well.

Serve hot with a good salad and fresh bread.

Tip: making the sauce with a bit more liquid than usual really helps the noodles soften well.

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