From the Ground Up, Sow 32 Part 2

posted on Wednesday, September 6, 2017

“Adam has a continual drive to be good and keep getting better,” said Doug Bates, manager of Sow 32. “You can get to know Adam by taking a look at how he organizes his barns. His flow is always correct, he always maintains pen integrity so there is minimal aggression, and every gilt and sow is exactly where she needs to be, along with her records. All of this sets the foundation for tremendous animal care and well-being.”

Adam has been with Iowa Select Farms for eight years,... starting as technician at Gourley GDU near Mount Ayr, then transferring to Sow 118 where he was a breeding technician for three years. He was promoted to department head in 2015 and stayed at Sow 118 until earlier this year, when he started a brand new chapter at Sow 32.

“We’ve all put in a tremendous number of hours into getting the farm and the breeding program established,” said Adam Houk, Breeding Department Head at Sow 32. “I’ve been so proud of my crew for sticking with it and sticking together.”

Adam says when it comes to breeding practices they are always working on being at or above target on PCP (confirmed pregnancies) rates of their sows, and they placing a heavy focus on monitoring their pregnant sows who are housed in open pens. “Adam and his team are at a 93% PCP, which is at target—that means they are doing a great job of heat checking, PCAI technique and overall care of the sows,” said Don Hunt, Sow Supervisor.

“We spend a lot of time monitoring their health and body condition while they are in gestation,” said Adam. “We look for any lacerations—which would indicate there is a ‘boss sow” who is getting aggressive around feeding time or is fighting to establish a pecking order—and we monitor their feet and leg condition and overall health. If we see something that isn’t right, we move her out and provide special care.”

The Sow 32 breeding team is made up of Jeff Spencer, Dan Shore, Martin Mason, Marcus “Giggles” Brooks, Tyler Cribb, Chad Cox and Hunter Hildebrand. Both Tyler and Mason are currently “on loan” to the Lucas GDU where they are pitching in on the breeding project for Sow 34. “The team has come together really well, and I have really strong and experienced breeding leads in Jeff Spencer (breed lead at Sow 16) and Martin Mason, prior to him leaving to help out at a breeding project.”

“We give huge props to the breeding project teams at ISOPork and Marton-Hunt GDU’s,” said Adam. The team who cared for and bred the gilts that stocked this farm did a tremendous job which shows in the total born of their first litters—those numbers have been higher than I have ever seen. We’ve all been excited for this week, those sows now are having their second litters. We can’t help but sneak over to farrowing to see how they are doing.” #billionplus

P.S. - Tomorrow you'll get to meet Misty and the Sow 32 farrowing team!