Indian summer has finally arrived

It’s 63 F degrees outside this afternoon and I think every combine in the state of Minnesota is being used to harvest corn and soybeans. What a difference in attitude Indian Summer brings, especially when it arrives this late in the season and after such a frustrating October. Yield reports have been mixed on soybeans, mostly related to whether the producer got any rainfall in August or early September. Corn yield reports are all very good. Even with the dry summer for much of this area, reports of 200+ bu/ac are relatively common. Hopefully the wind and warm temps this weekend will dry the corn down a few points so that the pace of harvest can pick up even faster.


So far in southern Minnesota, I’ve heard few reports of fusarium mold in corn. There are quite a few reports coming from Indiana and Ohio on moldy corn problems. Purdue University has had many press releases on the topic, along with links to web sites for detailed information. One can only hope that days like today and what is expected this weekend will prevent any further mold growth and the resultant mycotoxins in the grain.


The return to field work has also meant many commercial manure applicators (commonly called pit pumpers in our area) have been working around the clock to make up for the lost month of October. Since the middle of October when there were reports of barn explosions, there have been no more reports that I am aware of. On a conference call this morning sponsored by NPPC this morning, the production systems that participated indicated no further explosions either.


At the same time, there has not been a decrease in pit foaming problems or calls. Both the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Association, along with many state associations, are working with university specialists on this problem. All of the producers and production systems that have been involved in conference calls regarding this issue have pledged to offer what information and samples they can to researchers who are addressing this problem. While the mechanisms responsible for the foaming aren’t understood yet, I’m confident that producer cooperation with the scientific community will shed light on the problem relatively soon.


For now, those with foaming problems in their pits are being advised to use their sprinkler systems to knock down the foam when necessary. I have had no reports of success or failure with commercial anti-foaming products that might be added to manure pits.


We had the pits pumped this weekend at the SVC Research sites. One site had just been emptied of pigs and will fill with weaned pigs on Monday. The other site has pigs that averaged 140 pounds during the pumping. These facilities are tunnel barns, and the site manager turned on several of the tunnel fans in both barns. During the period of pumping, barn temperatures got into the upper 40’s, but we lost no pigs. I was in the facility 2 days after pumping and the pigs looked great.


It is interesting to note that the pigs in this facility just prior to pumping were gaining at over 2 lb/day and I expect this to increase in the next weigh period as the pigs aren’t at the weight that they typically peak in growth rate. I’m guessing with the cool fall weather, most sites have had very good gains this fall, even without the ‘new corn’ spurt in feed intake that is typically seen due to the lack of new corn at many country elevators.



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