The result has been the installation of feeders, a new watering system, a feed auger system to move feed to the pigs as needed and ventilation curtains that open and close automatically to control the temperature in the facility.
Mark Crenshaw, swine specialist with the MSU Extension Service, said the facility is located in the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center. He said while it has housed pigs before, the building has been used as a multipurpose facility in recent years.
Crenshaw said the facility will not only house swine research but also provide students firsthand experience to prepare them for working in the swine industry.
“Pigs are used as models for a variety of research projects, and it will be good to have this basic livestock animal species once again in our research facility,” Crenshaw said.
The animals’ presence will give MSU students an opportunity to learn how to care for pigs and manage their needs.
Terry Emerson, general manager of Prestage Farms in West Point, said the partnership will help MSU get back into swine research.
“There is a need for land-grant universities to continue doing research for swine production,” Emerson said. “We’d like to see Mississippi State become more engaged in swine production and in the future of our industry.”
Shengfa Liao was recently hired in the animal and dairy sciences department. His work focuses on maximizing the efficiency of nutrient utilization by swine.
Liao said he will soon begin a two-year project to examine the role of amino acids in muscle growth in pigs. He will be working with about 60-80 young pigs at a time.
“I want to explore the biological mechanisms by which pigs utilize dietary amino acids so we can find ways of more efficiently producing quality pork products,” Liao said. “This involves improving the pigs’ ability to use nutrients and examining nutrients from alternative feedstuffs.”