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Swine Research And Teaching Center Dedication August 26 At Arlington Research Station

Pork producers and the general public are invited to a dedication ceremony for the new University of Wisconsin Swine Research and Teaching Center, Wednesday, Aug. 26, at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Arlington Agricultural Research Station. The $3.9 million, 35,580 square-foot center stands on the site of the old swine research facility, which was destroyed by a fire in December 1995.

UW-Madison faculty and students will staff research and information displays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tours will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The final tour stop will be devoted to questions and answers. Displays will cover current research projects (including efforts to improve baby pigs” chances of survival; non-traditional approached to reduce skeletal lameness problems, new potentials for genetically-altered plants in swine feeds) and stations designed to describe how new equipment and facility works (displays will describe the operation of the siphon flush tanks used in the manure removal system, ventilation systems used to maintain an healthy environment, AI collection equipment).

The dedication program and luncheon will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with lunch served by the Columbia and Sauk County Pork Producers Associations.

A Pork Quality Assessment seminar will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the center; please register in advance by calling Dan Short at (920) 386-3790. A seminar dealing with the On-Farm Odor Assessment program will be held from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Due to limited parking at the center, visitors should park at the station”s Public Events Building, on Badger Lane off U.S. Highway 51. Buses will run to the center.

About the new Swine Research and Teaching Center:

Changes in the building layout make the building more “visitor-friendly” than the old center was. The Education Wing has been designed for demonstrations, outreach projects, and classes. It will include a hands-on animal area and an air-conditioned classroom for up to 40 people. Animal rooms in the Education Wing will include:

* Farrowing room with 4 crates
* Nursery/finisher room with 4 pens can house pigs from weaning to market as needed
* Arena area – 4 pens for market pigs or gilts/sows for breeding and artificial insemination demonstrations

Visitors can use the Education Wing without showering and taking the other disease-prevention precautions necessary before entering the rest of the unit. The ventilation system has been designed to minimize the chance of disease transmission from the Education Wing to the rest of the unit.

Animal wings have been reconfigured to house younger pigs (nursery and farrowing) upwind from older pigs (finishing and gestation). Animal wings for each age group have been separated by greater distances than in the old center. The pen arrangement in the gestation room provides separation of boars and sows and an area for semen collection from boars. A semen lab is provided in the core area. Center director Tom Crenshaw plans to install an electronic animal identification system.

The center will house a 250-sow breeding herd. At full capacity, there will be 1,500 pigs on-site.

The center will host 10 to 15 research projects during the course of a year. In addition to experiments conducted on-site, the center serves as the core of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences swine research program, supplying animals and tissue samples for campus lab work. About 80 percent of the animals will be used in Department of Animal Sciences studies. Also using the center will be the Departments of Biochemistry, Dairy Science and Nutritional Sciences, the Food Research Institute, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Medical School.

The rebuilding committee included representatives of Wisconsin Pork Producers, Inc.; feed companies and allied industries, and UW-Madison. John George, an agricultural engineer from Uniontown, Kansas, served as consulting engineer. Neal Jorgensen, emeritus dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, spearheaded the rebuilding project, from initial negotiations to the final design stages.

Some of the studies to be carried out at the center:

* Conjugated linoleic acid as a feed supplement for market hogs, and its effects on meat quality and reduction in body fat content.
* Nutrition and its impact on bone development; reduction in lameness problems in animals.
* Ways to minimize the nutrients in swine waste, but maintain nutrient levels for healthy animal development.
* Boars – identify and maintain genetically superior boars for a boar stud and swine artificial insemination programs.
* Effects of fat supplements on survival of newborn pigs.
* Efficiency of nutrient use – the economic principles that determine nutrient use in pigs.
* Use of embryo transfer techniques to reduce chance of disease transmission.
* Development of an oral iron supplement to enhance baby pig survival.
* Efficacy of genetically altered alfalfa plant extract as a source of phytase.