Archives for August 2012

A Breath of Fresh Air

Brandi Buzzard

Recently, Brandi Buzzard, an Agricultural Communicator, Writer, and Scientist who works at Kansas State University, wrote about EPI Air Technology on SwineWeb.com in an article titled “Airing it Out”. At the Animal Science and Industry Department at Kansas State University some of her responsibilities were to coordinate and conduct research trials aimed at developing low stress production practices for swine and cattle producers. Brandi noted, “While I generally enjoy conducting research in swine barns, I must admit that I don’t enjoy what I unaffectionally call ‘hog barn crud’ or the hacking and coughing I experience for the next 2 days after being in the barns.”

What Brandi experienced is the same poor air quality in the barns that swine, poultry or other livestock livein each day. The employees that work in the enclosed swine facilities breathe in the excessive particulate matter in the air, which also contains high levels of ammonia. Needless to say, the dust, gases, and ammonia can be a concern to animals and humans alike. Brandi feels that EPI Air has great possibilities, “ I think it has huge potential to increase herd respiratory health as well as improve the working environment for employees.”

Another student at K-State Swine unit is currently conducting a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the EPI Air system. Although the study is still going on and the results are not available yet, it looks like a promising solution for swine producers. Brandi is excited to hear the results. She explains, “Well, for starters the amount of dust that is removed from the air is astounding. Seeing all that particulate matter stacked on inanimate objects like fences and the walls really opens your eyes to how much dust is flying around in the air and being ingested by both the employees and the animals. If they’re concerned at all about respiratory health for either, they’ll want to consider EPI.”

Brandi is passionate about agriculture and it shows. She writes about it on her blog and on Twitter. Agriculture employs both her family and her husband’s family, and as Brandi says, “It’s our way of life and all we’ve ever known.” Brandi’s philosophy is “I write and speak out and tell my story – if I can help one more person learn about agriculture, then I’ve done my job.”

Technology to the Rescue

By Dick Hagen, Hagen and Associates

Livestock producers are fully aware of the ‘big pain’ building in their cost accounting ledger. Feed prices, especially corn, keep escalating. On August 2, Chicago Board of Trade had September 12 futures for corn hovering around $8; September soybeans at $16.35. Chicago Mercantile meat futures were trading at $76.85 for October 12 hogs; cattle at $140.12.

The dilemma? Processors can’t ramp up prices enough to offset increasing production costs of producers without significant resistance from consumers. In essence, increasing meat prices at the retail counter inevitably generates shrinking sales. Rationing is setting in at all levels of the food chain, including pork producers.

Unfortunately no one has the ‘inside intelligence’ to predict how long the belt tightening will last, nor how severe the pain will become. So how do you survive the current squeeze, especially when it continues with such hour-by-hour volatility? Well, after you have answered the question: “How many of my barns will continue to have pigs in them?”, you need to reduce mortalities and improve feed efficiency.

EPI Air to the rescue? Murphy-Brown, LLC thinks so. Their results were solid. They tested EPI technology on 44,000 nursery pigs. Check these rather remarkable results:

  • Average daily gain increased 12.2%
  • Average weights increased by 9.3%
  • Mortalities were reduced by 26.1%

Workers in these Murphy-Brown facilities also appreciate the ‘cleaner air’ environment.

Here’s why: The EPI barns had a 55% reduction in ammonia versus the control barns; a 58.6% reduction in hydrogen sulfide.

Comments John Baumgartner, BEI President, “My question to pork producers is simply this: Is an investment that returns your money within 18 months a good investment? Murphy-Brown estimated their payback at half of that, 9 months. And that was before the drought. In today’s ‘crunch time’ economy with increased feed costs, those return-on-investment (ROI) calculations are even faster.”

Proof of the cost-effectiveness of EPI technology is Murphy-Brown going ‘system wide’ throughout their entire Western Division with EPI units. We’re talking 655,000 nursery spaces plus 864,000 wean-to-finish spaces.

Said Dr. Steve Pollmann, President, Murphy-Brown Western Division, “This is a significant step change in environmental systems. We’re excited. The science is sound. The take away is that EPI in our test runs provided documented evidence of the potential benefit of this technology.”

Sums up Baumgartner, “We think EPI technology is on the threshold of becoming ‘must have’ technology. Especially during these difficult times, improved performance is the key to sustainability and a quick ROI has always made business sense.”

Interested in learning more about EPI technology?  Contact us at 800-823-4234 or follow @EPIAir on Twitter.