Innovative new facility advances swine research
While the strategically developed Leavenworth Livestock Research Center (LLRC) opened its doors only a few short months ago, the 2,500-head, wean-to-finish center is already expected to make big advancements in the research sector of the swine industry.
The Leavenworth Livestock Research Center officially opened in August 2017
Located near Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, the LLRC boasts two 1,250-head rooms and is fully equipped with 96 pens (48 per room) and innovative technologies like the Big Dutchman DryExact feeding system. This automated feeding system brings a higher degree of accuracy to feed delivery records at the feeder level, which results in more statistically significant information. This is essential because big differences in treatments aren’t always observed. However, small differences can add up over time. For example, 1 ounce per day (30 grams) difference in feed delivered equals 7 pounds at market in a wean-to-finish facility.
And, while the LLRC may look similar to a commercial barn, it is fully filtered. The modern filtration system removes dust and pathogens before they get into the barn, thereby alleviating many biosecurity concerns.
Improving research, production and the producer’s bottom line
“Hubbard Feeds has a long history of providing research-proven nutrition programs,” reflects Ernie Hansen, manager of swine nutrition and technical services at Hubbard. “In the early days, we had the Hubbard Answer Farm. More recently, we’ve worked with swine industry leaders such as New Fashion Pork and Compart Family Farms. And today, as part of the Alltech family of companies, we have the unique opportunity to evaluate new nutritional technologies developed by Alltech in a barn that features the latest in design and feeding equipment.”
A new group of pigs (sourced from local Minnesota premier pork producer Schwartz Farms, Inc.) was introduced to the LLRC in mid-November 2017 and the Hubbard team began conducting a research trial on Blueprint®, an Alltech program. The goal of this trial is to confirm the cumulative effects of Alltech technologies on growth, health and meat quality.
“The opportunity to do research in a realistic commercial production scenario is exciting,” says Hansen. “Our team can gather large amounts of statistical data with the number of pigs on-site and connect those results to similar situations for swine producers. The resulting information from the trials will be used to develop new products and feeding programs, with the overall goal of helping our customers achieve their production goals, increase profitability, reduce risk and improve their overall competitive advantage.”
Future research plans at LLRC include:
Further evaluation of Alltech technologies in swine feeding programs.
Continued assessment of basic nutrition principles such as amino acids, ratios and energy as they evolve with genetics.
Animal protein-free and antibiotic-free programs.
As the saying goes, the only constant is change. The swine industry of the future will face many challenges and opportunities.
“Providing research-proven feeding programs is a big part of the value we bring to our customers,” says Hansen. “It’s why they do business with us. We need to anticipate our customers’ needs and rise to the challenge in order to improve.”
For more information on this facility and the research work that’s being done, contact Ernie.Hansen@hubbardfeeds.com.