2011 Regional Pork Conferences

Name and Position/Title:
Mark Storlie, Swine Specialist; Russ Euken, Livestock Specialist; Dave Stender, Swine Specialist; Tom Miller, Swine Specialist; Terry Steinhart, Swine Specialist

Fiscal Year Submitted:

POW Title and Number:
154 Business management strategies, 158 Production systems and practices

2011 Regional Pork Conferences

The pork industry is facing high feed cost and volatile market conditions. As a result many producers are concerned about how they can survive low margins or even negative margins in the swine industry.  Progressive producers are actively seeking information to improve the productivity, reduce cost of production and manage risk.

The Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC), Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and Iowa State University (ISU) Extension co-sponsored this annual meeting series at four different locations across the state of Iowa.  Speakers covered topics ranging from benchmarking sow productivity, disease management and ventilation management.
Ron Ketchum, Swine Management Services, discussed and shared real data from a database to helped producers determine how they compare to others and develop potential strategies to improve efficiencies on their farm. Pigs wean per year per mated female ranged from just more than 20 (bottom 25%) to more than 28 (top 10%).  Two management practices of top performing farrowing operations were also shared: physically drying piglets at birth and euthanizing light weight (less than 1.5 lbs) pigs at birth. Pigs under 1.5 lbs have a 76% mortality rate in lactation and less than a 5% survivability to market.
The swine disease PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome) has been estimated to cost the swine industry over 560 million dollars.  Dr. McKean, ISU Extension swine veterinarian, discussed the impacts, management and efforts to eliminate PRRS.  He also talked on antibiotic use and the current discussion in the media and legislature.  Draft guidance 209 is a outline of FDA (Food and Drug Administration) public health concerns with recommendations, not legally binding, for judicious antibiotic use in food-producing animals.
 ISU Swine specialists discussed basic concepts of managing ventilation systems in swine building. Understanding ventilation control settings and principles are needed to optimize environment for pig and caretaker comfort, minimize environmental stress which can impact health, enhance performance and save energy.

More than 140 attendees representing almost 1 million pigs and more than 20,000 sows attended the conferences.  Following the program 90 attendees completed an evaluation. Presentations were valued on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest rated for knowledge gained.  The discussion of antibiotic resistance and public debate had a rank of 4.12 across respondents.  As one attendee responded, “I now have a better understanding of the antibiotic movement.”
The presentation on benchmarking and use of animal production data had an average rank of 4.06. Discussion of PRRS management and elimination had an average rank of 4.05 and ventilation principles and management had an average rank of 3.96. An attendee responded, “Controlling ventilation will be the most valuable in winter cost savings.”
Forty-two percent of attendees rated the program “Excellent.” Participants were asked how many years they have attended a Regional Pork Conference and shared that 53% have attended 3 years or more and 18% have attend 7 years or more. 

Page last updated: July 19, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick, jhoneick@iastate.edu