A research project involving swine dysentery was the top winner of a research poster competition, organized by the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) research committee and the Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) in Ames. Swine dysentery can cause up to $236 million in economic damage to the U.S. hog herd annually.
In its second year, the contest was once again sponsored by Cargill during the 2023 Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines the last week of January. Participants were students at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames who are studying a variety of areas that are relevant to pork production. Other winning poster topics included the impacts of heat stress on production efficiencies and heart health, as well as the effects of fertilizers and cover crops on yield and drainage water quality.
The first-place award for $1,000 went to Maria Hakimi, a graduate student in ISU’s Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine. In collaboration with two ISU professors, she evaluated which commonly used drugs work best for preventing and treating swine dysentery, a severe infectious disease that causes diarrhea and weight loss.
“It was really good interacting with people from different backgrounds—veterinarians and producers,” said Hakimi, of Ames. “Getting feedback was really helpful to know what we need to do next.”
Tori Rudolph won the $500 second-place prize for a project that looked into the impact of prolonged heat stress on production outcomes for male and female growing pigs.
“With summers getting hotter, heat stress is a growing problem in the United States and across the world,” said Rudolph, a native of Burlington, Wis. She added that heat stress costs the U.S. swine industry nearly $1 billion annually.
Missey Roths, a graduate student in ISU’s animal physiology program, received third place and $500. She and four others are named on research that suggests heart damage from heat stress could contribute to decreased animal performance. Roths is from Clarion.
Another round of judging was determined by Iowa Pork Congress attendees. The Producer’s Choice winner was Gabby Myers, from Underwood, a graduate student in ISU’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.
She received $500 from IPPA for her project that assessed the impacts of agricultural management practices on corn yield and drainage water quality. The study suggests sustainability practices that improve the environmental footprint of hog production.
A total of 12 research projects were in the contest.