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By Staff | Feb 4, 2011

Wayne Reisberg, of Carroll, foreground, visited the Advanced Biologicals booth during the 2011 Pork Congress. He is speaking with exhibitors Josh O'Brien, left, and Michael O'Brien. The Clear Lake company markets microbes for rejuvenating soil and for managing manure pits.

DES MOINES – The trade floor was jam packed with exhibitors and visitors alike at the 2011 Pork Congress, which ran a two-day show at the Hy-Vee Center.

Exhibitors said they are sensing an eagerness among potential farming clients of upgrading their ag operations or looking at new farming techniques, as the ag economy continues to steadily improve.

Hundreds of agribusinesses were on hand to talk with producers about the latest and greatest farm tech services and tools for both crops and swine production.

At booth 322 was Michael and Josh O’Brien, of Advanced Biologicals, based in Clear Lake. They market a product that will rejuvenate soil profiles with microbes, but is also used in manure pits for better nutrient digestion and preventing crusting.

“The old is becoming new again,”?Michael O’Brien explained. “We are taking a certified organic product and using it for conventional agriculture.

Lisa and Mark Nelson, center and right, of Absolute Swine Insemination, of Webster City, demonstrate to a visitor at their booth during the 2011 Pork Congress, how their unique catheters work for artificially inseminating pigs.

“Basically, we are doing what our grandfathers did through crop rotations used to do.”

He noted that with the high cost of land, it is not economically feasible to rotate crops as back in the mid-20th century where corn was followed by soybeans, followed by two years of alfalfa hay.

These microbes, O’Brien said, replenish the carbon and organic matter to keep from wearing the soil out.

“It’s like an oil change for the field,”?he added. “It has all the same minerals, we’re just ramping it up to make the field more productive.”

The microbes break down carbon and other nutrients so they are more readily available for plants.

“These are live organisms,”?O’Brien said, “which are grown in an outdoor environment so they know how to survive in the field.”

The microbial product can be added to any spray mix except for pesticides, which would kill the organisms, he said.

The per acre cost, said Josh O’Brien is about $5.85. He said that research test p[lots conducted at North Iowa Community?College in Mason?City shows a yield bump of eight to 15 bushels for corn and three to six bushels for soybeans.

An added benefit, Michael O’Brien said, is that plants are healthier and seem to withstand pest invasions better.

“The brix count is very high,” O’Brien said, “and bugs don’t like to chew on them.

“We’ve yet to hit the aphid threshold (on soybeans), but the aphids seem to like to munch on the beans across the road.”

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At booth 1124, Joe Rabe was displaying a unique set of veterinary and biosecurity products for the swine industry.

Rabe explained that his company, based in Le Mars, searches the world for quality tools for suppling retailers.

He had products primarily from Germany and New Zealand on this day, “but we also have many U.S. products,”?he said.

“We’re just a small company with a niche market.”

At booth 841, Nick Wignall, of CB?Wind Systems, based in Ankeny, was one of four representatives to talk with producers interested in erecting small wind turbines to power their confinement operations.

The average size of turbines for this purpose is about 1,500 kilowatts, Wignall said.. They come with a five-year warranty and have a 20-year lifespan.

There are 30 percent tax credits available for producers. He said his company has turbines powering six regional hog houses and four households.

“There is less resistance to these turbines by utilities,”?Wignall said, “to interconnect with these smaller turbines.

“They realize that this (small-scale wind generation) is not going away.”

At booth 906 was Mark and Rita Nelson, of Absolute Swine Insemination, based in Webster City, demonstrating to anyone willing to watch how their unique catheters work for a more safe and effective insemination of sows and gilts.

Inside the tube is a plastic sheaf that proceeds the sperm through the uterus protecting the sperm from manure or other impurities.

Contact Larry Kershner at (515) 573-2141, Ext. 453 or kersh@farm-news.com.

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