The current state of the country has been unlike anything we've seen or experienced before. University leadership is providing us guidance and support as we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis. To protect the health and safety of our employees and the public, the WCROC is functioning under reduced operations. This means our office building and grounds are closed to the public, including the Horticulture Display Garden. Essential employees are tending to the needs of our livestock herds and our greenhouses. Upcoming events are currently on hold until we know more. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at 320-589-1711.
Given the growing concern of COVID-19, the upcoming training session of PQA/TQA scheduled for March 18 has been canceled. All U of MN Extension in-person trainings are being postponed, canceled, or shifted to on-line formats in effort to put the health and safety of attendees first. Please contact Heidi Olson-Manska at 320-589-1711 ext 2130 for any questions.
Market weight of slaughter hogs has been increasing over the last 30 years. The USDA reports that slaughter weights have increased from 250 pounds in 1990 to 283 pounds in 2018, which could be due to genetics, nutrition, and housing systems. U of MN researchers have been evaluating the proper floor space allowance for pigs.
It is an energizing start to 2020 for the WCROC, who received a $5,000 Seed Grant from the Clean Energy Resource Teams to evaluate the feasibility of storing excess wind energy using a combined system of battery along with hydrogen and ammonia production.
Minnesota may be known more for its long winter season, arctic temperatures and loads of snow, but it’s the short summer season that can often be taxing on the state’s pork production systems. U of MN researchers have been looking at different ways for cooling sows in the farrowing stage of production.
A unique, hands-on learning experience will be available in the Spring of 2020 for undergraduate students at the WCROC. A course entitled “Diversity of Agricultural Production Systems” has been developed with the primary objective of demonstrating to students the wide variety of agricultural production systems, and the opportunities for fulfilling, well-paying careers in the large number of disciplines related to agriculture.
The U of MN and WCROC lost an incredible faculty member last week. Dr. Rob Gardner passed away on October 23, 2019. An enthusiastic and passionate teacher, Rob was an Assistant Professor at the WCROC as well as with the U of MN Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. His major area of research was utilizing the many properties of algae for production of biofuels and bioproducts.
On July 10, 2019, during the Midwest Farm Energy Conference Keynote Program, Morris, Senator Torrey Westrom was presented with a Lifetime Leadership and Service Award. The award was given in recognition of Senator Westrom’s exemplary vision for renewable energy research and the unwavering support he provided as a founding member of the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center’s (WCROC) Renewable Energy Program.
“Everybody is different, and every farm has its own characteristics when it comes to energy use,” reports Brad Heins, WCROC dairy scientist to Dairy Herd Management. The WCROC has 200 cows that graze whenever the grass is growing on the western Minnesota prairie. As such, only 7% of total energy use is needed for barn ventilation in the non-grazing months. The station’s major energy use comes in heating the milking parlor (31%), heating water for cleaning (22%) and cooling milk (11%).
Water is considered by a majority of swine nutritionists to be the most important of all nutrients required by pigs. At birth, water makes up about 82% of the pig’s body weight and steadily declines to about 50% for a pig at market weight. While water is a vital component of any livestock diet, the question remains; does the quality of drinking water influence health and performance of pigs? We are set to address this question by looking at the impact of water quality on animal performance, gut health, and livability of nursery pigs.