Donald G. Levis University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Resources Authored

Videos

Don Levis on the National Swine Reproduction Guide, U.S. Pork Center of Excellence

Publish Date: 08/20/2015

Don Levis, retired professor from the University of Nebraska, discusses the value and importance of the National Swine Reproduction Guide. He and a team of reproduction experts are working hard on the National Swine Reproduction Guide, which is being produced by the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence.


Read More
PIG How-To's

Daily Walking Swine Nursery-Growing-Finishing Barns

Publish Date: 11/12/2014

Regardless of whether a caretaker is walking a nursery, growing-finishing, or wean-to-finish barn, the facility has to be observed and evaluated at the individual pig level, pen level, and barn level. The main reason for walking a barn is to identify problems, determine why the problem is occurring, and take action to solve the problem. A walk-through requires a caretaker to make observations, listen to sounds, smell odors, feel/take room temperatures, measure relative humidity, and touch objects. The morning walk-through is usually more thorough because of the detailed observation of each individual animal, feeding system, watering system, and environment. The afternoon walk-through is less intense and mainly involves an evaluation of animal comfort, water availability, feed availability, and adequate ventilation. Caretakers need to apply their knowledge to solve the problems.


Read More Download PDF
PIG How-To's

Daily Walking Swine Breeding-Gestation and Farrowing Barns

Publish Date: 11/12/2014

Regardless of whether a caretaker is walking a barn used for gilt development, breeding-gestation, or farrowing, the facility has to be observed and evaluated at the barn level, pen or stall level, and individual pig level. The main reason for walking a barn is to identify problems, determine why the problem is occurring, and take action to solve the problem. A walk-through requires the caretaker to make observations, listen to sounds, smell odors, feel/take room temperatures, measure relative humidity, and touch objects. The morning walk-through is usually more thorough because of the detailed observation of each individual animal, feeding system, watering system, and environment. The afternoon walk-through is less intense and mainly involves an evaluation of animal comfort, water availability, feed availability, and adequate ventilation. Caretakers need to apply their knowledge to solve the problems.


Read More Download PDF
PIG How-To's

How to Evaluate Facility Maintenance for Animal Well-Being

Publish Date: 04/17/2012

The welfare of animals is a major aspect that pork producers need to evaluate on a daily basis. It is very important to closely evaluate swine facilities for aspects that need to be fixed to enhance the welfare of the animals housed within the building.


Read More Download PDF
References

Biosecurity of Pigs and Farm Security

Publish Date: 11/03/2011

Risk factors for security of a farm and biosecurity of pigs on the farm are unique to that farm. Therefore, each biosecurity plan should be farm specific. The best plans are created by working with a swine veterinarian or veterinary consultant who has extensive knowledge of the farm, employees, and local risk factors.


Read More Download PDF

Resources Reviewed

PIG How-To's

How to mix gestating sows housed in groups

Publish Date: 11/14/2014

Due to specific state legislation or market requirements many farms will have to house gestating sows in groups. Management practices will have to be modified for farms to be successful when housing sows in groups during gestation. Gilts and sows have a dominance hierarchy based on aggression and avoidance. Fighting among sows mainly occurs during the first 2 to 3 hours after mixing. The hierarchy is primarily established within 24 hours. An important consideration will be how to mix sows and gilts in groups to reduce overall, prolonged aggression. This article will provide guidelines that can be used to formulate standard operating procedures for mixing sows into gestation pens. For this ‘How-To’ sheet, it will be assumed that females (gilts and sows) will be mixed after they are mated.


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Multiple Trait Selection For Pork Improvement

Publish Date: 04/19/2012

One of the most important decisions breeders make is choosing which traits to improve in their herds. Breeders must decide among numerous traits of economic importance and determine whether to improve performance a small amount in several traits or make larger amounts of improvement in fewer traits.


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Breeding Boar Nutrient Recommendations and Feeding Management

Publish Date: 03/25/2010

Boars have a profound influence on the swine breeding program. Not only do they provide a source of genetic improvement, but they also affect farrowing rate and litter size. Although nutrition of the boar is often given the least amount of attention compared to pigs in other phases of production, it serves as an important factor in determining reproductive performance of the breeding herd and overall animal well-being. Nutrient status influences libido (sex drive), structural soundness and longevity, sperm production, and semen quality. Factors affecting nutrient requirements include age and stage of maturity, body condition, environmental conditions, and ejaculation frequency. Many farms feed boars the sow gestation diet(s), but this feeding program may neglect some of the unique nutrient requirements that must be accounted for to optimize breeding herd performance in working boars. Scientific research regarding the nutrition of boars is lacking. Therefore, feeding strategies used in the pork industry and those presented in this paper are based on a minimal amount of research.


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Estrus or Heat Detection

Publish Date: 07/31/2007

Detection of estrus or standing heat is one of the most critical components of a successful swine breeding program. The widespread adoption of artificial insemination (AI) in the swine industry has shifted the responsibility of detecting estrus from boar to breeding technician. Accurate and consistent detection of estrus is necessary to ensure insemination occurs near the time of ovulation and to identify open females. Errors in detection of estrus reduce reproductive performance and increase herd non-productive days. Since accurate heat checks are so vital, all individuals involved must know the typical signs that females approaching estrus in their herd exhibit and how to best use a boar to stimulate females to express estrus.


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Managing Boars in Artificial Insemination Centers

Publish Date: 06/03/2006

Daily care and management of sires in an artificial insemination (AI) center can have a large influence on semen quality and sperm output. A typical boar produces from 1100 to 1200 doses of semen per year (22 doses/wk x 52 wks) and therefore, semen quality of a single sire influences a large number of matings and services per year. A rule of thumb is that each female inventoried will require about six doses of semen on an annual basis (2.2 L/S/Y x 2.2 matings per service x 80% FR x 10% semen wastage (unused doses) . Therefore, each sire inventoried in the boar stud could meet the semen needs for 150 to 200 females inventoried on the breeding farm. The following are some important points to consider for optimal management of sires maintained in a commercial AI center.


Read More Download PDF

Resources Edited

Factsheets

Swine Statistical References - National Pork Board Facts

Publish Date: 04/02/2012

This factsheet references the National Pork Board Pork Facts. It is a pdf file that may be downloaded to your computer. It contains general swine statistical data in chart or data formats. It is an excellent starting place for swine production information. To go to the website click on the internet link provided in the third column of the references.


Read More Download PDF