The annual get-together of North America’s pig industry in Iowa attracted over 10,000 producers and industry professionals in Des Moines, IA, USA, from June 8-10. International visitors returned to Iowa and the atmosphere was optimistic, despite a call for vigilance for foreign animal diseases.
The weather could not have been any more welcoming for the World Pork Expo 2022, which was a common sentiment from everyone attending in comparison to the sweltering heat of 2021. The hustle and bustle of WPX, held every year in Des Moines, IA, United States, seemed to be back in full swing and had several international producers in attendance as well, with many from South America and even Vietnam. The mood was joyful and encouraging. But the number of problems the swine industry faces today, including labour shortage, did not go unnoticed.
The event was kicked-off with the annual World Pork Open Golf Tournament on Tuesday, June 7th with up to 144 golfers that could participate and then followed by a networking event sponsored by Lucta. The official tradeshow, hospitality tents, and educational sessions started on Wednesday through Friday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. McDonald’s supported pork producers with free breakfast both on Wednesday and Thursday. Free food and drinks were widespread and available along Hospitality Row along with different entertainment opportunities while catching up with old friends and meeting finally again with colleagues in person instead of via a computer screen.
World Pork Expo is not just BBQ and a tradeshow, but an opportunity for training and current industry updates. For instance, on Wednesday, Operation Mainstreet and PQA Plus Training were available (see box) along with “Coffee talk: Hot topics in the pork industry” with Bill Even and “Sustainability series: What’s coming and why you need to be ready” with Dr Frank Mitloehner. On Thursday, “Pork sustainability and foreign animal disease preparedness” took centre stage, also highlighted in a side box.
Every year the allied industry showcases its new technologies and products at World Pork Expo. This year was no exception. 2 new technologies on the feed side include Gestal’s Select, and PigEasy’s Meal Meter 2.0.
Both feeders bring precision feeding closer to reality as a common feature in any swine operation. Gestal uses their sow feeding knowledge and developed a self-feeder to measure individual feed intake in grower-finisher pigs without complicated load cells or hydraulics. While PigEasy took its Meal Meter to the next level by adding in both feed and water measurement capabilities, combining the unique ability for a sow to self-regulate her feed intake in breeding/gestation or lactation while the producer knowing exactly how much she ate or drank in a day.
Another interesting technology launched at WPX was from AP, the Manure Monitoring Stick. That technology is to help producers to detect water leaks or excessive fill levels in their pit, another tool to help with sustainability within pig farm systems.
Switching gears, Novus announced their Scale Up programme. Traditionally a feed additive company, the animal nutrition company sees the need to be able to work with the producers to meet their goals and then find the right approach to help producers succeed. This programme provides both internal and external experts, XpertLink, to work together with the producer to solve their problems.
It is important to see many traditional feed additive companies, such as Novus, seeing the need to step up and bring expertise back to the industry to solve multi-factorial problems and hopefully become strategic partners to lead a sustainable path forward for the swine industry.
In closing, WPX 2022 was a success with little rain or storm disruption and the perfect temperatures to reconnect with each other. Attendees were not left disappointed with the great food, entertainment, educational opportunities and vendor interactions.
This article was written with the support of Tre Smith and Christine Snowden.