What Happens When You Pull Together Some of Our Best Gilt Development Unit Managers?

posted on Friday, November 25, 2016

What happens when you pull together some of our best gilt development unit managers from across Iowa and put them together in one barn? One pretty intense breeding project. The seasoned leaders we called in to help with two major breeding projects have over 100 combined years of experience and are proven in their ability to select, care for, and breed our future sows. And when we asked them to roll out the royal welcome wagon for 7,200 new gilts in a brand new farm with a brand new design...they were more than up for the challenge!

Leaders like Nathan, Darian and Jeremiah (pictured here) and others will be key contributors to the project at our new Marton Hunt GDU farm—a positively filtered farm located near Iowa Falls and Iso-Pork GDU. With longtime GDU veteran Monica Dodge as the coordinator for both breeding projects, the team will breed 370 gilts a week for Last Chance Sow Farm (Sow 32), followed by 425 gilts a week for Jamestown Sow Farm (Sow 33), two new sow farms both set to be up and running in the new few months.

“Doing the breeding projects in the filtered GDU farms allows us to stock our filtered sow farms with high-health (PRRS free) gilts, keeping them healthy through their entire lives,” said Jeremiah Hall, GDU Supervisor for Iowa Select Farms. “It’s an exciting time in the GDU system with the introduction of the filtration technology. We will now be able to capture the full potential of our gilts and help out the performance of our sow farms and downstream flow through this additional investment in the health of our breeding herd.”

In order to accommodate all of the filters needed to purify the air inside this 7,200 head site, these soon-to-be-moms will be housed in larger, temperature-controlled barns. Typically, GDU farms have multiple barns interconnected by a hallway, however with the additional of the filter banks the overall site design had to change to bigger rooms, higher ceilings and completely different layouts. “It’s also our first farm with a “Z” wall of filters, allowing us to fit in the large number of filters we need to purify the air inside a barn of this size,” said John Stinn, agricultural engineer for Iowa Select Farms.

“The new farm is designed to be much more user-friendly and ergonomically designed so that we are able to more easily breed and care for our gilts and give them the space and environment that they need,” said Jeremiah.

“It’s an exciting project to be a part of, especially just thinking about the impact it has to our whole system,” said Nathan Garrels, GDU manager for the Pomeroy GDU who is helping out with the breeding project. “The barn has a nice set-up for loading the gilts in and out with the spacious transition area.”

Once the breeding project is completed, this farm will serve as a GDU that will flow gilts to seven different sow farms in our system.

Huge thanks to the entire GDU and transportation team for all of the hard work in getting these breeding projects off the ground, and to everyone who is staying back to cover the day-to-day gilt development needs for our current sow farms. #billionpounds