Niche Swine Producer Management

David Stender, Swine Field Specialist, Northwest

Problem Statement: 

Previous work with niche producers help them obtain some financial and production records.   The records showed that education and management training in nutrition, farrowing pigs alive, reproduction and using records for management decisions were needed.

Programmatic Response:

Training materials, including homework assignments, were developed, twelve training events were then conducted for 71 participating farmers.   A Swine Nutrition Workshop was held in Sheldon winter 2008 for 10 participants.    Three management topics: increasing profit, farrowing and reproduction were discussed via phone conference over the Internet during 11 on-line hour and a half sessions for 61 participants


An on-line survey was sent to the participants and the following results report by them:

List the one or two most important things you learned from participating in the discussion groups.

How to compare feed rations

Watching feed costs and feeder wastage

That I need to become more aware of feed costs in my hog enterprise, and that there are options I can investigate for feed inputs

Facilities design for hand mating and related things to move from pen mating to hand mating.

It was important to me to find that things I have been doing out of personal evaluation and observation were the correct things to be doing. It also was good to find out that no matter how few or how many pigs one keeps, the problems and concerns are the same. I learned the importance of having more boar power and how the competition factor helps in getting our boars working. I learned a great deal and found support by the information provided. Thanks.

That blood in the semen isn't a reason to cull the boar

The production costs of feeding pigs and that pigs per sow is very important but it is also how much you spend on feed and utilities etc. The other most important thing that I learned was about hand mating and keeping your boars cool. I know that I will put in a sprinkler system. I am also going to switch to hand mating. I didn't get much out of the farrowing part. I have that down and am getting good weaning averages.

Managing feeding program & importance of vaccinations

Importance of herd health security and controlling sows during mating with young boars

A 3 month follow-up survey showed the management practices changed or soon to be changed as results of the workshops:

a. Training my young boars to be good breeders

b. Increasing my boar/sow ratio (more boar power)

c. Rotating my boars more often to increase matings

d. Testing my boar's semen to evaluate its viability

e. Doing a better job of keeping boars cool (misting & fans) during hot weather to keep semen viable

f. Changing facility design/layout to better manage my boars

g. Do a better job of evaluating gilts saved for breeding purposes

h. Use condition scores to help keep lactating and gestating females in proper condition

i. Doing a better job of managing feed intake during lactation to reduce overfeeding

j. Change facilities to use feeding stalls to help match feed needs with sow size

k. Change facilities to allow for hand mating

l. Doing a better job of detecting estrus

m. Doing a better job synchronizing when sows and gilts come into heat

n. Do a better job at biosecurity to reduce chances of introducing diseases

o. Work hard to manage/improve pig flow to optimize use of my facilities

p. Implement/improve my gilt vaccination program to strengthen immunity to enter the sow herd without setbacks

q. Implement/improve my sow/boar vaccination program to ensure stable herd health and boost colostral immunity to piglets


150 - Iowa Pork Industry Center

Page last updated: April 16, 2009
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