Li looks forward to swine research at Morris

MINNESOTA - West Central Research and Outreach Center animal scientist Yuzhi Li says hogs fascinate her.

"They know how to survive," said Li, who started working at the center in November. "If you take care of them, they collaborate with what you do to help their own survival."

Li, whose livestock research has focused on animal response to its environmental physiology, will continue her studies at the Morris-based research center. She's applied for a National Pork Board grant with fellow WCROC researcher Lee Johnston to study reducing piglet mortality in bedded farrowing systems.

"With improved genetics, hogs are having larger litters and the piglets are smaller," she said. "It's a greater challenge for them to survive."

She'll also look to improve feed intake and reduce aggression as sows re-enter group gestating barns following farrowing. Li conducted research at the Prairie Swine Center in Saskatchewan, Canada, focusing on sow aggression in gestating barns. The studies showed that sows can remember for six weeks, she said.

Her research spans 30 years with projects in China, Japan and Canada. It started in her native China when, as a college student, she became interested in animal science. Some thought her interest was a fluke. After all, she grew up in a city of 6 million people and had never seen farm animals.

"The only pigs I saw were in movies and on TV," she said. "I think that, for me, it was hard at the beginning because I didn't have the experience with them."

She became more curious and interested in livestock. "Some said, 'You won't stay in that area for long. You will get tired and you will be bored,'" she said. "But as a graduate, I became more involved in agriculture and I thought if I can contribute to pork production and agriculture, it's a big thing. I just felt that what I am doing is important and I like it."

Source: AgriNews
calendar icon 1 February 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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