David Stender, swine field specialist
As pork becomes leaner and more muscular, breeding stock becomes more challenging to manage. If entering gilts are too lean, reproduction failure is common. Leaner genetics potentially have higher death loss and reduced reproductive rates. In Dec. 2002, 75 producers, looking to improve the reproductive performance of their breeding herds, attended a seminar in northwest Iowa. Participants were asked to measure their improvement in knowledge and skills by filling out a post seminar survey. Thirty participants filled out the survey, and they have control over 266,300 finishing pigs (that is about 89 FTE @ two-thirds hour per pig) and 31,015 breeding stock (about 155 FTE). A significant portion of swine production in northwest Iowa was in attendance at this workshop.
Forty surveys were mailed out nine months after the meeting to measure the impact of the meeting on actual changes in management practices. The results that participants reported are as follows:
- All mailed in responses (n=12) used some general information from the seminar to make more informed herd management decisions
- Seven operations have changed sow herd feeding and other management to lower sow death loss rates
- Half implemented a change in water management (checking flow rates more often as an example)
- Two-thirds have changed other management factors including such things as a high/low thermometer in medicine refrigerator, feeder management, ventilation changes etc.
- Five operations have adjusted gilt nutrition, resulting in more productive and longer lasting breeding stock
- 42 percent have reviewed my genetic program relating to sow longevity and productivity
- 58 percent made changes to the sow nutrition program (such as feeding more closely to condition score)
- One-quarter of the operations have made some other change in their operation not listed above.
Producers were then asked to list specific management changes that they applied to their operation because of information learned from the conference:
- Managing feed and water to lactating sows
- Keep needles for meds clean
- Dry feed sown in lactation and water in same bowl
- Force-feeding water in this method is helpful
- Changed management of my semen storage unit
- New attention to general things that get overlooked on day-to-day operations
- Improved general herding
- Take care of lame sows as soon as possible
- Oxytocin in semen
- Attention to the importance of water
Those that reported a dollar value for the meeting, reported the actual meeting value at: $750, $200, $750, $200, $1500, $35, $200, $1500, $1500, and $200
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