Low sow mortality: What’s the secret?


Training People Saves Lives

This past March at AASV, Ron Ketchem from Swine Management Services (SMS) took his audience into a deep dive of his farm benchmarking database (900 plus farms with 1.6 million sows) to share prioritization of factors that impact sow mortality.

On the top of his list was labor and training. Farms that had lower sow death loss were farms with trained, skilled, long-term employees. Other factors that impacted sow mortality were farms that valued the development of replacement gilts, farms that did the basics every day, farms that kept up with repair and maintenance, and farms that made sure that every female was seen every day. However, trained people topped the list.

“Trained people make a difference on whether sows live or die,” emphasized Ketchem. “We need [. . .] to train continuously and hold people accountable. We have to create jobs that are a career in the swine industry by providing more continuous training and personal development at the farm level by online training courses, development and implementation of SOP’s of farm, and use of outside training groups.”

This is exactly what we seek to do with online training featured in Pork Avenue Training Portal. Research is showing we can make a difference in expressed competencies of caregivers on farm. In one large system, Pork Avenue increased expressed competencies from a 59% baseline to 89%; and in another system, we increased expressed competencies from a 25% baseline to over 90% on most of their farms. Training helps people know how to offer timely and informed care to pigs reinforcing, or in some cases, creating a culture of care that saves lives.

For more information about Pork Avenue Training Portal and the 120 plus lessons in English and Spanish across all aspects of production, contact info@porkavenuetraining.com or email me direct at sarah@agcreate.com. I would love to discuss how investing in your people and implementing training can increase expressed competencies of people on farm.

Dr. Sarah



See it. Do it. Teach it.


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