True dedication to sow health puts this team on top
On Saturday we introduced you to Becky and Sarah, members of the Rout Sow Farm’s farrowing team. Today we want you to meet more members of the team—Bert, Steven, Allie and Justin.
Most of our sow farms employ 12 people, with various roles and responsibilities, all working toward the same goal of producing healthy weaned pigs. Equally as important as farrowing is breeding, where good condition and health is vital, with the whole team keeping a watchful eye on each individual sow.
“There’s a lot that goes into sow health, but by focusing on what they can control means the first step is following biosecurity protocols so diseases don’t enter the farm,” said Bert, assistant manager at the farm. “The team works hard to keep the farm sanitized, which is important to sow health.”
Justin, a student who works at the farm part time just happened to be manning the power washer that morning. He agreed that pressure washing is a huge part of a biosecurity effort that keeps the farm clean and prevents the spread of disease. Every area of the farm gets repeatedly cleaned and disinfected, especially after pigs are moved.
Allie, who is a member of the Production Leadership Program (PLP), joined the farm team a few months ago and is rotating through the various positions, all part of a training and development effort that will eventually lead to a production management position like Becky or Bert. Allie, who is training on the breeding side of the farm, said their team goal is keeping herd health at the top of its game, making sure their sows are getting great care and are in good condition.
Steven, the breeding lead who is being trained to be the breeding department head, said he grew up on a farm and has always loved working with animals. He pays close attention to their body condition score (a visual measurement that indicates if a sow is in ideal condition or is too thin or too heavy) and makes adjustments to feed quantity based on that score, and then of course hits their farm’s weekly breeding targets.
Bert said she is very proud of her team. “We spent 2015 getting the right people in the right place and really focusing on the impact of those key positions on the farms, and we’ve come a long way, thanks to great teamwork,” she said.
Bert, who was promoted to assistant manager from her previous role as the farrowing department head, now juggles many responsibilities, including managing the operational aspects of the farm. From ordering feed, fuel and supplies to working through wean pig projections she stays on top of it all, including logging daily production numbers and records into the company Tools intranet site, the company’s lifeline for sending and receiving production data. “I learn new things every day, and the challenge is something I really enjoy about this job.” #billionpounds