Pipestone Applied Research: 2017 Year in Review

By: Dr. Scott Dee

Happy New Year!

In 2011, I joined the Pipestone team on a new journey: to lead their newly formed research division.  Pipestone Applied Research (PAR) focuses on providing production-driven research results for our Pipestone shareholders, research sponsors, and our swine vet team to make data-driven decisions and ultimately improve health and production on your farms.  Here are some highlights for PAR in 2017 and what we are looking forward to in the new year.

It all starts with the people: First and foremost, we have a talented team, led by our research manager Dan Hanson and his team of skilled caretakers, our research coordinator Robin Gilbertson and our outstanding Research Committee. This skilled group gathers information and feedback from stakeholders to identify the important questions that need answers, as conducting research in relevant areas is critical to our mission.

What was our scope? We had record-setting performance in 2017, completing 19 trials, involving over >20,000 pigs. Many of these trials were conducted in our 4 research barns, led by Dan and his team. These are state-of-the-art research facilities where we run competitor trials that evaluate vaccine efficacy or sire line performance, as well as production-based studies looking at the effect of wean age and the dynamics of Antibiotic Free pork production. Data from these trials are directly applicable to the Pipestone Management and help us make accurate, data-based decisions on the farm. We also continued to partner with South Dakota State University utilizing their Animal Resource Wing as a site for the critical discovery and proof of concept work, such as the risk of pathogen spread through feed and the validation of transport vehicle sanitation products and protocols.

What did we learn? The PAR team generated new knowledge in many areas! Here are a few examples:

  1. Measuring the effect of extended wean age on sow and WTF performance.
  2. Assessing the performance of multiple sire lines, including DNA, PIC, and Topigs Norsvin.
  3. Demonstrating the benefit of Lawsonia intracellularis vaccination in the face of acute ileitis.
  4. Understanding the global risk of virus-contaminated feed ingredients.
  5. Developing a protocol for tracking antimicrobial resistance on swine farms.
  6. Evaluating the effect of PRRSV infection on ABF production.

What’s ahead in 2018? Look out, the ball is already rolling! We currently have trials underway looking at the new influenza vaccine from BI, several new sire line trials and a trial evaluating the ability additives to reduce viral survival in feed. In addition, we are very excited to begin construction on Research Barn 6, a facility designed to run “pilot projects” in an effort to generate preliminary data before starting large-scale trials in our other barns. This facility will be set up to house lactating sows, weaned pigs or growing pigs and will allow the PAR team to fine-tune infectious disease challenge models as well as further our proof of concept work. In addition, this facility will enhance collaboration with the PGF team, providing a place to run nursery-phase nutrition trials and with the Pipestone Ottumwa & Bethany teams to advance their novel “contract research initiative”, evaluating safety and efficacy of prototype vaccines in partnership with animal health companies.

Ultimately, Pipestone Applied Research gives your Pipestone veterinarian the cutting edge with access to production-driven research to make data-driven decisions for your pig’s health.  For further questions regarding Pipestone research or specific trials, feel free to contact your vet, Robin or myself. We are happy to discuss the results of the trials at any time. Thanks for your support of PAR and here’s to a great 2018!