Advanced Breeding Herd Management Seminar

Mark Storlie, Swine Field Specialist and Russ Euken, Livestock Field Specialist, Northeast Area
Efficient pork production is driven by the productivity and efficient management of the breeding herd.  New technologies are increasingly available and require higher levels of management to evaluate and adapt them correctly for economic benefit.  The trend toward leaner genetics and earlier weaning in sow herds has tended to result in higher sow mortality rates, greater culling rates, additional non-productive sows days and lower conception rate if not managed correctly.  Forty seven producers attended a seminar in Waverly, Iowa to learn how to improve the reproductive performance of their breeding herd.  Participants were asked to measure their improvement in knowledge and skills by filling out a post seminar survey.  Twenty seven completed the survey; which represented 53,550 breeding sows (approx. 267 FTE) and control over 516,700 finishing swine (approx. 173 FTE).  An excellent cross section of Northeast Iowa swine producers attended the seminar.
Speaker included Rob Knox, University of Illinois ; John Mabry, Iowa Pork Industry Center ; Colin Johnson, Iowa Pork Industry Center ; Russ Euken, ISU Extension and Mark Storlie, ISU Extension.
Producers were asked to rate how beneficial each presentation was to their operation.  The rating system included not much, some, fair and a lot.  Prior knowledge was also asked from low to high.  The following results:
         AI Skills and Practices for Success 72% indicated fair or a lot of benefit, while remaining 28% noted some benefit.  78% of producers indicated their prior knowledge was good or high prior to the presentation.
         Presentation focusing on Using Real-time Ultrasound 11% indicated a lot of benefit, 52% fair benefit, 26% some benefit.  34% of producers noted prior awareness was low prior to presentation.
         Discussion on Nutrition for the Breeding Herd 36% responded fair or a lot of benefit with an additional 54% noting some benefit.  61% of producers indicated good knowledge prior to presentation
         Impact of Weaning Age and Breeding Targets presentation 32% benefited a lot, 46% had fair benefit, with 18% finding some benefit.  Over 80% of producers noted a good to high knowledge prior to the presentation.
         BLUP and Gilt Selection presentation 68% indicated fair or a lot of benefit.  73% of producer indicated their prior knowledge was low or fair prior to the presentation.
         100% of surveys noted some or greater benefit from the general discussion at the seminar with 65% indicating fair or a lot of benefit. 
         100% of surveys rated the overall program as some or greater benefit.  Over 90% rated the program as fair or a lot of benefit to their operation.

A few examples of the most important ideas learned by producers from the seminar include.

The following are some examples of impact to operations referred to by producers, as they plan to apply ideas learned at the seminar.

Sixteen producers made the effort to estimate the economic impact of the meeting to their operations.  Operations reported an average benefit of $3,531 per operation financial impact from applying the information gained from this meeting.  Six operations anticipated an economic impact of over $5,000 for their operation.

March 3, 2005
108 -- Iowa Pork Industry Center

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