Duroc boar makes the Today show on MSNBC

A Duroc boar weighing just over 1,000 pounds got his 15 seconds of fame on MSNBC’s Today show this morning. Featured in a special segment on state fairs, Bowser, a pedigreed boar out of Bold Adventure and owned by John Harrison of Mt. Airy, Pa., calmly ate pellets for the camera alongside record-breaking watermelons and discussions on fried food. His popularity as the repeat “Big Boar Display” at the Maryland State Fair earned him the notoriety to be selected to visit the Today show.

Harrison says he bought Bowser in 2007 from Dave Holloway of Glen Rock, Pa., after they were unable to purchase his sibling – The Bus, bought by Shipley Swine Genetics – at the Keystone Classic auction. They used Bowser as a stud for two years, then retired him to a fenced area in the woods at their farm, where they plan to let him live out his life.

Harrison says their family swine business, Lantern Light Farm, got its start raising pigs in 1997 when sons Nick and Ben were in 4-H. After they were too old for 4-H, Harrison and his wife, Sandy, started showing in open shows at the Maryland State Fair and the Keystone International Livestock Exposition, which they still do today. They continue to farrow three registered Duroc litters a year, and sell the pigs as local 4-H projects.

View a clip of the Today show segment below.

2011 Illinois State Fair Pork Premiere Show results

From the University of Illinois

URBANA – Meg Meeker of Logan County exhibited the Champion Junior Pork Premiere at the 2011 Illinois State Fair Pork Premiere Carcass Show. Meeker’s pig was also named Champion Junior Land of Lincoln and Reserve Open Land of Lincoln.

“Meg’s barrow had a hot carcass weight of 223.5 pounds with 0.90 inches of backfat and a 10.0 square-inch loineye,” said Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H livestock specialist. “With 129 days on test, this barrow had 0.822 pounds of lean gain per day, which is the ultimate figure used in ranking the premiere hogs. Her 283-pound Duroc barrow also scored well on qualitative measures such as color, marbling, firmness and pH.”

The second place hog in the Junior Premiere Show was exhibited by Kade Buysse of Henry County. His 258-pound crossbred pig had a hot carcass weight of 212 pounds, 0.70 inches backfat, and a 10.5 square-inch loineye.

“Kade’s barrow came in with 120 days on test, which gives him 0.813 pounds of lean gain per day,” Jennings explained.

Lauren Honegger of Livingston County captured the Reserve Junior Land of Lincoln title with a 259-pound Yorkshire barrow that charted 0.756 pounds of lean per days on test.

Champion honors in the Open Premiere Show went to Dean Zehr of Tazewell County with a 259-pound crossbred barrow that sported an 8.2 square-inch loineye area with 0.7 inches of backfat and 0.837 pounds of lean gain per day. Reserve champion honors in the Open Premiere Show and the Champion Open Land of Lincoln title also went to Zehr with a 273-pound Duroc barrow that yielded 0.834 pounds of lean gain per day on test.   

"The Junior and Open Premiere Carcass shows for swine, beef and sheep rank as one of the more complete and educational livestock programs that youth can enter," Jennings said. "They incorporate live evaluation with production performance and carcass merit, which should be the bottom line in evaluating market animals."  

Jennings collected and tabulated the carcass data to ascertain the 2011 alignment for these shows. Pigs were nominated and tattooed in the spring. The live and carcass data collected included breed, initial weight, live weight, average daily gain, hot carcass weight, length, 10th rib backfat, and loineye area. These figures were used to calculate the pounds of lean gain per day for rankings. In addition, qualitative measurements were taken for loin color, marbling, firmness, and pH.

Behrmann’s Packing Company assisted and helped coordinate the harvesting of the pigs.

Illinois announces Superior Young Swine Producer Award winners

From the University of Illinois
The 2011 Illinois Superior Young Swine Producers Award Contest was held on Aug. 10 in conjunction with the Illinois State Fair. Twenty-two 4-H and FFA members from across Illinois competed in the event. 
“This three-phase competition challenges young people to display their working knowledge of swine production,” said Dan Jennings, University of Illinois Extension 4-H livestock specialist. 

Each year, five $1,000 scholarships are presented to the highest scoring individuals overall. The contest is sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland of Decatur and the Illinois State Fair. The Land of Lincoln Purebred Livestock Breeders Association supplies the individual plaques presented to the scholarship and phase winners. 
The top five youth receiving $1,000 scholarships include Caitlyn Bowyer of Sumner, Jaylene Jennings of DeKalb, Trey Fecke of Bonfield, Tara Bernard of Newark, and David Ammann of Highland.

In the swine management test, Jennings, Bowyer and Ammann sorted themselves to the top and received plaques for their achievements.  In the skill-a-thon phase, Bowyer, Jennings, and Fecke took home the highest honors. In the judging competition, Ben Kemme of Shumway, Ammann, and Bernard made up the top three.
Jennings said, “This contest provides youth an opportunity to showcase their knowledge of the industry while competing for valuable scholarships to help them pursue their career goals.”

This year marked the 15th consecutive year for the Superior Young Swine Producers Contest that has provided participating youth the opportunity to compete for $80,000 in college scholarships since its inception. The purpose of the contest is to create an educational activity that promotes youth development, career development, and personal growth through increased knowledge of the swine industry.

ShowRite offers 2 Cool to help swine deal with record heat

From ShowRite Hubbard Feeds

(Mankato, MN) -- We are going through a period of record heat indexes across the United States. This is hard on people and livestock; hogs in particular. Keeping your show stock comfortable is a full time job and no matter what we do; sometimes it is not enough.
  • Pigs will stay more hydrated and fuller due to lower body temperature. Muscle is made up of 75% water, so more hydrated = more muscle. Fuller bodied is in; so more body and shape equals better show ring presence.
  • Pigs will stay cooler – cooler means fresher. Cooler pigs show better and have a better chance of winning the drive and can go longer into the drive.
  • Cooler hogs will consume more feed; more feed more gain. This is invaluable when pushing for a show.

Showpig breeders have a larger concern than the show ring. Getting sows bred in this heat is a problem. Keeping boar semen alive in over-heated sows is a problem. Keeping sows on feed in lactation is the key to holding body condition and as we all know, the more a sow eats in lactation, the more milk she will produce for her litter. Also, sows that eat more in lactation breed back faster and higher conception rates are achieved. With semen costs being high, getting sows is bred a great concern.

Getting a competitive advantage in the ring means the difference between the banner and the sidelines. Lowering body temperature of your show hogs gives the exhibitor a decided advantage in several ways:

Heat stress in boar studs is a major concern also. Lowered body temperature can mean the difference between live and dead semen and lowered body temperature in boars will increase the amount of quality, live semen.

ShowRite has developed a product to address these concerns and this product is called 2 Cool. The main ingredient in 2 Cool is Tasco which lowers body temperature; but 2 Cool also has added probiotics for feed digestion and electrolytes which will keep your animals hydrated. 2 Cool is to be fed at the rate of 2 oz. per head per day. The cost of 2 Cool is less than $.30 per head per day.

2 Cool is available through any Hubbard Feeds or ShowRite dealer. Click here for additional information.

Southwest Regional volunteers needed

The 2011 NJSA Southwest Regional in Chickasha, Oklahoma is right around the corner September 2-4! We are still in need of volunteers for the judging contest, silent auction, and the NJSA Merchandise Booth.

If you are interested in volunteering your time please call or email Sarah Schwab at 765-463-3594 or sarah@nationalswine.com. Volunteers are what make the NJSA events happen so please help support us by being a volunteer at our event. Silent auction and booth time slots are 2 hour time periods and the judging contest is Saturday afternoon.

Also don't forget to bring an item for the silent auction. Gift baskets, cooking items, pig paraphernalia, sports team gear, jewelry, or anything else you would like to bring is awesome!

We look forward to seeing everyone soon, safe travels, and don't forget to give us a shout to sign up for your volunteer slot.