We're not going to stop until we're #1

posted on Friday, May 27, 2016

Julie and Theresa are the day one leads at Sow 23, charged with assisting with births and getting newborn piglets warm, dry and suckling colostrum as soon as possible. Their unique perspectives and attitudes are what has helped the farm recover from PRRS and hit a 4th place finish the first quarter.

Julie and Theresa’s efforts of assisting with births to prevent stillbirths and then drying piglets, watching for colostrum intake, hot boxing, managing heat lamps and hundreds of other efforts all result in a higher born alive, more pigs weaned and a higher total born conversion percentage, or simply put, more pigs out the door.

“My ‘day one’ area and ‘walk through’ process of monitoring and caring for the younger pigs are probably the two most important areas in farrowing—and can make or break you,” said Mary, the Sow 23 farm manager. “And with these two ladies, I know they are giving 110% every day and the best part is they love what they do.”

Theresa fully agreed that she enjoys the day one care the most, and finds colostrum management the most rewarding part of her work. “This is such a huge part of our responsibility, and has a tremendous impact on the health of every pig,” said Theresa. “We work really hard to make sure every piglet gets its mothers milk and has a fighting chance.”

While Theresa is tending to piglets, Julie has her eye on the mothers, especially the new ones. “Gilts are just young and misunderstood, but I’ve here for them and I can’t help but love them,” said Julie, referring to welcoming these first-time mothers into her farrowing rooms. Under Julie’s watchful eye, she’s extra attentive to the gilts as they farrow their first litter of pigs. “I was a young mom once too, and let me tell you, having one baby was bad enough, I feel for these girls!”

In general, gilts tend to have lighter litters with lower birth weights, and also deliver lower colostrum protection compared to sows with higher parities (farrowings). Julie’s keen sense of understanding and attention to the gilts during farrowing paired with Theresa’s attention to colostrum management has helped push the farm up the Select Pride list.

“I’m not a vet, but I get to play one at work!” Julie often jokes. Katie, the farm’s actual veterinarian, says the entire farrowing team does a great job of caring for the sows and individually treating piglets if they see symptoms of sickness or injuries that need attention. “They’ll do temperature checks on the sows right after farrowing, and respond immediately if there are issues. They do a great job being our eyes and ears in the barns.”

“Teresa and Julie go above and beyond every single day,” said Mary, the Sow 23 farm manager. “It’s all about the pigs and doing what’s best for them, whether that requires extra work or not. As a manager, you can’t ask for more than that. They push hard and are truly dedicated.”

“We’re not going to stop until we’re #1,” said Theresa. “You could say we are competitive. No…we’re VERY competitive!”

Theresa has been in the farrowing department for six years and Julie for five. “We’re a team here, we try to say we work smarter and not harder, but sometimes it requires a little of both,” said Julie. ‪#‎billionpounds‬