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It has been long understood by hog farmers that excessive heat equals reduced growth and reproduction in hogs but an Iowa State University animal scientist is leading a research project to further understand the actual physiological impacts of heat stress on pigs.
“The primary objectives are to evaluate why and how heat stress reduces swine productivity,” said Lance Baumgard, Iowa State associate professor and the Norman L. Jacobson Endowed Professor of Nutritional Physiology.
“Heat stress is the costliest issue for American animal agriculture and is even more economically devastating in the developing world. If climate change continues as predicted, the negative effects of environmental heat stress on pig production will become more severe,” he said.
Having a clear understanding of the biological mechanisms responsible for reduced productivity during heat stress is needed to develop strategies to improve suboptimal production during the warm summer months, Baumgard added.
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Baumgard is heading a team of animal scientists from Iowa State, the University of Arizona, the University of Missouri and Virginia Tech University. They will study how heat affects swine in several areas including nutrition, reproduction, muscle biology and immunology.
The $2.5 million research project is funded for five years by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).