posted on Monday, March 2, 2020
Here at Iowa Select Farms, we’ve been talking a lot about sprockets lately. Big sprockets, small sprockets…sprockets, sprockets, sprockets. It’s fun to say.
We believe every employee and caretaker can create great change. Each of us holds the ability to make a positive impact on our teams, at our farms and most importantly, the health of animals. Sometimes, though, it feels like we are tiny sprockets spinning away—and, geez, one can wonder, “does this really make a difference?”
Like when we diligently spin our small biosecurity sprockets—we’re talking about bench entry, showering in, passing our lunches through a UV chamber and washing and disinfecting every inch of our farms. Then comes news of a PRRS break and it’s downright heartbreaking, and we truly begin to question the importance of spinning those sprockets.
But, let us reassure you, spinning those small sprockets is working. The numbers do not lie. Since 2018, our pre-wean mortality on sow farms has decreased by 11.9%.
And thanks to the diligence and execution of our finishing teams and barn wash crews we’ve increased livability by reducing lateral breaks. If we hold that improvement through the end of March, it will be 36,000 more pigs this quarter.
How, you ask? It all comes down to our employees, contractors and crews spinning all of the sprockets faster and faster, improving biosecurity and pushing production forward.
Throughout the years, we have installed innovative technologies on our farms to improve biosecurity—bench entry, UV chambers, disinfecting and drying rooms, positive pressure filtration and hundreds of new processes and practices. We execute those technologies, stay diligent to using those technologies and then work together to train and hold others accountable to them.
The theory is if we can get all the small sprockets turning faster, we can get the biosecurity flywheel, well, flying. That flywheel can then eventually turn the biggest, most important flywheel of all—healthy, productive pigs. We’re excited about biosecurity and we are excited about sprockets.
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Ashley Dyer Heads Hooper Sow Farm Farrowing Department
As the farrowing department head, Ashley and her team of Selene, Vivian, Dolly, David, Zory, Hugo, Alonzo and Yulissa—to name a few—will receive the gestating sows within a day or two of farrowing, make them comfortable, monitor health and feed intake, and then assist with birthing.