Hawkeye Community College Visits Sow 11

posted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017

There’s nothing we love more than sharing our passion of raising healthy pigs, and that’s just what we did yesterday when we welcomed students from Hawkeye Community College into our Stockdale Sow 11 farm.

The visit was a Swine Management Student Field Trip, a program we designed for local community colleges and universities to provide students an opportunity to connect classroom learning to a commercial swine system and explore the possibility of a career in pork production... management.

Throughout the tour, students had the opportunity to walk through a farrowing room, witness baby pigs being born and see Sow 11’s farrowing technicians and the Day 1-3 Care Specialist hard at work. “I’m around pigs on a daily basis at the school farm and I’ve never seen anyone work so efficiently,” chuckled a sophomore student at HCC. “They're so detailed when they're caring for the baby pigs, it's just amazing how a small group of people can do so much!” Students engaged with farm employees that were providing supplemental iron, managing colostrum intake, docking tails, hot boxing, assisting farrowing sows and record-keeping, all tasks that are extremely important in ensuring optimum piglet care.

After taking the obligatory “baby pig photo”, students stepped into another farrowing room to see 15-18 day old pigs ready to be weaned and learn about how quickly and efficiently pigs can grow. Thus far in 2017, Sow 11 has weaned more than 20,000 pigs!

Once the students had an understanding of what happens in the farrowing department, Sow Farm Manager Lance Lawrence took them into a room that houses a filter bank that supports the farm’s positive pressure ventilation system. Sow 11 is extremely unique in the fact that it was the first positive-filtered sow farm in the Iowa Select Farms system – a $4-million-dollar investment that is a reflection of our commitment to herd health.

The tour concluded with a visit to the breeding department where students learned about open pen gestation management, PCAI breeding, heat detection and automatic feeding systems.

“It was a lot different than I was expecting,” one student from Chicago said. “I was expecting little baby pigs, which there were, but I didn’t realize how big the sows were! This was such a cool experience.”

Thanks to all of the students and Professor Petty-Wulf for stopping by our farm! We loved teaching you about modern swine production, our employees, culture and values. #BillionPlus