Episode 17-3

Highlights from Midwest ASAS with Ana Lucia Pozzobon de Souza

In our final part of the MW ASAS, Dr. Ana de Souza will walk us through the key takeaways. One of the main presentations and discussions from the meetings and the last year came out of Dr. Stein’s laboratory again looking at effects of leucine-rich diets and the consequences it has on other amino acids, especially the branch chain amino acids. Learn from one of the best as Dr. de Souza gives you a rundown on the need to know information.

Hello, there, this is Dr. Casey Bradley and you’re listening to the Real P3 podcast.  A podcast dedicated to the real pork producers around the world.  I hope you enjoy.

Hi, everyone.  Welcome back for part 3 of 3, the highlights from Midwest Animal Science meetings this year.  As I said in the first appisode, I want to thank ASAS for pulling off a great meeting.  There’s a lot of volunteers, a lot of committees and a lot of employees that put a huge effort into making these events successful.  Even though we weren’t there in person, everyone involved did a phenomenal job of putting this on. It was a great experience virtually, even though I missed my colleagues, but I also want to thank and highlight all the students, all the professors, all the research. [01:00] A lot of times, we see a 12-minute presentation, and we make a decision based on that, but it takes countless hours on the farm, in the lab, and then writing and coming up with ideas to further swine nutrition and swine research, and for you producers to make valuable contributions.  So, I want to thank you all that put in the time and effort to highlight your research this last month at the meetings.  Thank you so much. You did a great job, your work does not go unnoticed, and our industry is ever grateful for your dedication.

So, before we go into the last appisode: like I said, lots of good things to take away, but I think the most organized person who took detailed notes, can give you exact author names and abstract numbers, is my friend Ana DeSouza with IFF (which was formerly Dupont), and she’s going to discuss some of her highlights from the event, so stay tuned.


Casey: Well, hello Ana, how are you doing today?

Ana: I am doing very good, Casey. Hope you are, too.

Casey: I wish we had some sunshine, but hopefully Spring is on its way.

Ana: We are having some beautiful days in North Carolina, I’ll tell you that.  We are sunny and good temperatures around 70. It’s going to go away today, but we are going to survive it.

Casey: Well, what was interesting is you got to enjoy the sunshine this week while attending Midwest Animal Science, which as we all know can either be snow or nice spring weather.  So, this appisode is about highlights of MW Animal Science. For our listeners, if they don’t know, it’s one of the key meetings for swine nutrition, or really swine in general, of the year for the US.  What are some of your takeaways from this week’s events that could help producers here in the US and globally?

Ana: I believe that there were several presentations that caught my attention.  I think there are changes that are coming, especially because today we see that in the last 5-7 years, the genetics of the pigs that we use are very different that they were 10 years ago or 50 years ago.  We are seeing new research done in amino acid testing and in mineral testing. Even in metabologies on how they feed the animals and different times of the age of the animal, or what they are feeding the animal causing different results in their performance, or even different results in livability or mortality, which I think it is quite interesting, actually.

Casey: Anything that sticks out in your mind? Let’s start with one [4:00] and kind of talk through one of the [04:00] presentations. See if it’s on my list, too.

Ana: One that I have – actually, it was two, because he presented in two different parts of the meetings and I watched both and I mixed both in one mix here – actually, it was 171 and 172 (numbers of the presentations).  It was Woong Bi Kwon from University of Illinois.  Some of the presentations have Jose Soto from Ajinomoto and Hans Stein, of course, from IL.  He was talking about amino acids baleen, isoleucine, and tryptophan in relation to lysine, especially today that we use high levels of BDGS from corn, where you may get diets that you’ll have high leucine.  When you have high leucine, you will have negative impact on rote performance, and you’ll have a negative effect also in nitrogen retention in those animals.  Even some effect on epotilemic seratonin for those animals.  Which I think it has some part of effect that is in other intake for those animals.  One thing they also mentioned is that when there is excess leucine there was an increase in the catabolism of all the branch amino acids. He mentioned it is very important to align those amino acids and understand that when you have a high leucine, increasing tryptophan and baleen may be important to cover the effects of high leucine.  In a way, the next amino acid to be missing is not [06:00] going to be the same.  So, you cannot keep a list in your mind that is forever the same.  So, I thought that this was quite interesting, and I would support people to go and watch it.  Today, I was watching some other presentation and I saw there were some other people still watching the presentations. So, if you still want to go and you signed for the MW Animal Science, go look for it, because it is quite interesting.

One other presentation that I thought was extremely interesting in my mind was on the outstanding young research award symposium.  There were two there.  There was one from Mariola Grez-Capdeville.  If I’m killing her name, I’m sorry.  That’s life.  She talked about calcium phosphorus in sow nutrition.  I thought that was really interesting because with all the things we see in terms of formulating and understanding calcium and phosphorus relationships in the diet for different characteristics of animals, for young or productive animals, you always think also you are using phytase in whatever level you want to use and whichever type of phytase you want to use and that will cause a difference in how you maintain that ratio to not cause issues in the response of these animals.  But when Vanessa Lagos presented the requirement of calcium/phosphorus for growing pigs, she put a slide there that just blew my mind, in a way, because she showed the standard total tract digestibility for calcium and for phosphorus relationship for the 4 different [08:00] ages of animals for grow and finish from 11 kg up to 130kg.  She showed that for growth performance, that ratio reduces between calcium and phosphorus, from 1.4 to 1.1 in a 130kg animal. But when you look at the response for bone mash, this starts at 1.7:1, then it increases to 2.3:1.  How do you get that in your mind?  I understand that, but the important comment she made was that this ratio for the bone mash might be very important for reproduction animals.  So, when you are raising animals for reproduction, you might have to find a way to feed them a diet that is different than the diet that you feed to grow-finishing animals that will last 6 months.

Casey: Amen. I agree with you. I think Dr. Crenshaw’s lab and Dr. Stein’s lab have really led the way.  They’ve taken a couple different approaches.  I’d like to see their labs combine with the D part and see what is the influence of D, different sources, level, cause to me that is all tied together, and bone health.  I think that’s the number 1 problem I see in producers rations, we’re raising gilts, they’re not being fed like gilts, they’re being fed like finisher pigs, and to change that mindset.

Ana: I would agree with you because in my 9 years that I was at Smithfield on the formulation, we had several restrictions on how we fed the animals, because we didn’t have the space to produce a different diet for the reproduction animals. We have to manage in a way that it was horrible, nutritionally speaking, because we are not preparing those animals to be reproductive animals, but it fit what we had available to us.  It gets you against the wall and it’s like what am I going to do?

Casey: That’s kind of scary for you to say, because “Smithfield did not have room for a different ration.”  I get it, meal productivity, through-put, that’s a big driver in big systems and big mills.  What’s it going to take to get us to change? There was a lot of conversions this week.  Another young scholar at Holden farms now on gilt development.

Ana: Mariana Menegat

Casey: What’s it going to take for us to wake up, come together and get it fixed?

Ana: I had several of those conversations when I was at Smithfield. [11:00] Me and some other friends working late at night, we would be talking about those things.  “Oh, we could do this and that and move everything to this place.” But then you have other directors in the company, “Oh, but that would be too costly.”  How costly it is for you to grow the animals that you need to grow in a better way.  I know that especially in Smithfield when you look at their system of production.  In the east today they have I believe 3 divisions, not 4 as there was when I was there.  One of those feed mills, I know that it is not fully occupied, but it is far from the others.  But I believe that they should make all their reproductive there, because they have the conditions to make specific diets in a better way and set days to do that and travel [12:00] to the places where they should go.  I don’t know if they will ever make that decision.  It goes back to fenced on a truck, and I will go to fights, real fights about “Oh, you have to put more feed in the truck!”  I would say to them, “Are you going to put a feed that is more expensive to this animal that they don’t need because it’s cheaper to carry more feed?”  Really? When 65-70% of the cost of the pig is feed?  I don’t understand that part.


Casey: I think one of the things we’re lacking, and I’ve asked somebody else about this, is tools.  [13:00] I think one of the tools we’re lacking, and I think we’re on the edge of really getting there is appropriate models – right?  – that take into account – and I’m not sure if the economic models are even being developed – thinking about vent space on the farm, truck space, legal requirements… Depending on what state you’re hauling feed in, your weight load and the time of year could be totally different, pothole season in the winter vs summer weight load restrictions and things. We need more robust models, I think, to really say what’s this cost, etc.  Then I say we need to do more gilt development and sow research, too, but that’s costly and takes not only money but time.  Why do I want to wait 2 years for data, Casey?  I need to know today.  I’ve got this problem now.  This is what I’m going to focus on. Who cares about what 2 years is?

Ana: One thing that always reminds me, Kyla Cole from JDS and Mandy Garrett from there, they did an outstanding job there working on implementation feeds on the farms that they didn’t have before.  Some people think that is easy.  It is easy if everything works as it’s planned.  But don’t forget that you have people in the middle that don’t do their part. You get on a farm and you go to the mailbox that’s there and you open and there is not space to put the pen inside because it’s full of paper tickets that they should have picked once at every delivery and look what kind of feed they received, and they don’t do that in some places.  It’s scary.

Casey: Nope, you’re right. And everybody wants to blame the [15:00] feed, and, to me, we talk ideal proteins, precision ratios. I’m sorry…

Ana: It’s impossible to go there.

Casey: It’s impossible! We can’t be perfect; because there’s too many…

Ana: I think the best description of the feed system that I heard was from Rebecca Robbins, when she was at Smithfield.  I was traveling with her visiting customers and she was talking about some things with the feed.  She said “Well, I try to do my best with implementation, but the feed on the farm is seen with other eyes.  Feed on the farm is seen like Christmas that is ‘going to come.’”  They think, “Oh my god, it is going to be hard to fix it.”  But it is not!  I think the models can help a lot, but they can be used also to train the people on the farm how it’s important they do their part on the farm to link the two sides so we will have the correct implementation of the services.  They are the most important and most expensive part of this business.  So, it’s hard to understand when people don’t do anything to fix the problem.

Casey: Any more thoughts from the meetings?

Ana: I’m going to tell about one that I thought was interesting in the swine translation symposium.  There was a very good one with Caleb Schull about use of cameras to predict extras in ovulation, which I think that is absolutely interesting.  I heard many years ago someone that was talking about a [17:00] similar system but not with cameras, it was with RFID’s. The males were in the middle and they have a point of contact from the gilts and the sows to come from their pens to check the male.  They knew that how many times the female got to that location showed that they were close to heat.  That was an interesting one.  This one I also thought:  cameras, it is amazing the amount of technology that is in there. Aiden Conway was talking about all different technologies that are around in locations of data science, swine science, poultry, everywhere.  A lot of it today is visual.  This morning I watched a post from Rebecca Robbins about technology from Denmark showing how to count pigs.

Casey: I needed that a couple weeks ago, by the way, so bad.

Ana: It is amazing.  It shows a corridor and then the pigs go in the numbers come in.  Amazing; I thought that was super.  The best thing that I heard on the Aiden Conway presentation was that the presenter asked him, what do you say about disruption?  There is a way to stop disruption?  Aiden said, “Disruption IS GOING to happen. There is NOTHING that is going to stop it.”  Just for you, Casey.

Casey: Well, I’m a disruptor, thank you. We did a discussion on being a disruptor. You can check out Coffee & Careers in Animal Science.  It will be on our Youtube.  We had a special event on that.  If you’re interested, check it out.  I hope Ana would say I’m a disruptor of the industry.  [19:00] Because of that whole camera thing, I’m glad Caleb’s testing that out.  Maybe he’ll entertain my idea of the cookie bot.  I’m trying to find somebody to build me the cookie bot.  It’s a lot more that what it sounds; she’s gonna be a lot more than Betty Crocker on wheels. [laughter]

Ana: That’s very good. One other that I saw that I thought it was quite interesting.  It was a group from Cargill from Sara Ebarb, Sabrina May and Mark Newcomb.  They were talking about the use of a structural fiber and the impact on mortality and removal of pigs – nursery pigs.  They used different types of fibers, but the one that had better responsive was a wheat mix.  And they had a very interesting reduction in the mortality and removals on those trials.  So, people say, “Oh, pigs don’t need fiber!”  It depends on the fiber.  Not all fiber is good.  That’s why a lot of people today use oats for nursing diets.

Casey: I was talking to somebody saying, “I need my fiber. I need to eat my oats.”  You look at crude fiber on oats; it’s not crude fiber!  It’s a different fiber. I eat oats.  I have to have my oats, ladies and gentlemen.  If you get a nursery diet from me, it has steam rolled oats in it.

Ana: I have a lot of other things.  But I think that that was interesting.  One interesting one that I saw in a poster, it was from the University in South Korea, [21:00] Konkuk University, and they were talking about the use of homeopathic products in finishing animals.  This was very interesting for me, because when I was in Brazil, we had someone that was medicating the animals with homeopathy, which was quite interesting.  The company that I work with there, we would receive a liquid product from the homeopathic pharmacy, and then we would put with dextrose to send to the farm.  They had some interesting results.  Abstract-something. The author is June Park.

Casey: There’s always some really good data that comes out of that lab.  I can’t think of the professor’s name.

Ana: Bob Kim?

Casey: Yes.  Bob Kim’s lab.

Ana: He was my colleague at the University of Kentucky.

Casey: That’s what I thought.  Did he study at K-State, though, too?

Ana: No. He did his PhD at University of Kentucky and then he moved to University of Illinois and worked with Han Stein and a post-doc there. I had him for part of my PhD and he finished later.  He’s a super smart guy.

Casey: Well, we’re about out of time, any last-minute thoughts?

Ana: I didn’t see everything I would have like to have seen. There were a lot of good information.  A lot of interesting information.  It might not be something that you’re going to sell, but it doesn’t matter.  All the information you see in a conference like this, it will all go to your mind and increase your knowledge about the business you are in, and it’s going move you forward. [23:00]

Casey: I think if you were in a farrowing house today or sitting in a board room, there was something there for everyone there to help them improve.

Ana: Yes, absolutely.

Casey: Thank you for the opportunity.

Ana: Thank you very much.


Casey: Wow, what a great wrap-up.  I can’t believe March is gone and Midwest Animal Science is in the books again.  I hope you enjoyed our highlights from the meetings and I can’t wait to hear the research next year when we can meet back in person.

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