Stockdale Sow 11 is the Most Improved sow for Q2 of 2019
“This is a group that has surpassed my expectations and it’s been fun to watch them excel,” said sow supervisor, Mark Lee. “There have been many long days leading up to this point, but their hard work is finally starting to pay off. I’m really proud of them.”
Health issues, staffing setbacks and an older herd have made for a tough couple of years for Stockdale Sow 11, but it looks like they’re finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The farm was recently named Most Improved Sow Farm for Q2 of 2019.
“For a long time, we were the poster child for what positive filtration can do for a sow farm,” said manager Lance Lawrence, in regard to Sow 11 being the first positively filtered sow farm at Iowa Select Farms. “We went from endemic to complete cleanup.”
Back in 2017, less than two years after the farm’s positive pressure filtration remodel was complete, their pigs/sow/year had jumped from 22.9 to 28.7, total born increased from 13.6 to 15.5 and pre-wean mortality dropped from 17.8% to 14.4%.
When the farm found out at the end of 2017 that they had somehow gotten PRRS, it was a tough pill to swallow for Lance, breeding department head, Camden Bates and farrowing department head, Amanda Johnson.
“You can definitely say it was a big setback,” said Amanda, who along with Lance and Camden has seen the farm through the past two years. “Just when we thought we’d never have PRRS again, we got a big reality check.”
For the past two years, the farm has focused on biosecurity. They’re not just controlling what comes into the farm, but also cleaning the heck out of everything on the inside. They power wash—often—and spend extra time changing gloves, needles and scalpel blades in between every litter of pigs they process. A task that can be done in about 3 seconds, but easily adds 1-2 extra hours to their day.
“Lance, Amanda and Camden are seasoned employees and great leaders for the farm,” said Mark. “They know the long-term benefits of what they’re doing daily and communicate that to their team. It makes it easier to stay motivated during exhausting days because they’ve explained how and why it’s what’s best for the future. Their strong leadership and positive attitude have really made an impact here.”
In addition to Lance, Camden and Amanda, the team is comprised of newborn pig specialist, Brandy Perry, breed leads Luis Rodriguez-Coutino and Olga Soto-Rodriguez and animal caretakers Rhea Jayliene Bailey, Jamie Bouzigard, Kylie Chaplin, Nathan Groff, Justin Martin, Cody Reed, Lane Rodamaker and Abigail Whitsell.
“We’ve grown into a family, even if that means yelling and screaming at each other some days,” joked Rhea. “But like a family, we get through it together and always have each other’s backs. We’re all working towards the same goals.”
Those goals, as Rhea alluded to, mostly revolve around getting “clean” again. Although the farm was technically PRRS negative earlier this year, PRRS recirculated in January when a new group of gilts was brought into the farm; however, they’re feeling optimistic about the future.
“Luckily this time around hasn’t been as bad, but of course our ultimate goal is to get the farm “clean” again and stay that way. But after that, everyone better look out,” chuckled Lance. “We’re looking good to start getting gilts in soon and getting back towards that number one spot. Don’t be surprised if we make appearances in the Top Ten or get Most Improved Sow Farm again. We’re just getting started.”
Congrats to Lance, Camden, Amanda, Rhea, Jamie, Kylie, Nathan, Justin, Brandy, Cody, Lane, Luis, Olga and Abigail on your Q2 success. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for you.