Source: Iowa Select Farms
Congratulations to the team at Ringgold Sow 28 for being named our Most Improved Sow Farm last quarter!
After a nearly two-year battle with PRRSv, the farm, led by tenured manager and employee of 26 years, Mikey, finally tested negative for the virus.
“It has been a long and difficult road for this team,” said TLee Girard, the farm’s veterinarian. “We have been talking about getting them PRRSv negative for quite some time and if you’ve executed a PRRSv elimination plan, you know how challenging and frustrating they can be. This farm has showed a lot of grit, determination and overall great leadership. I couldn’t be prouder of how far they’ve come.”
In addition to Mikey, the team at Sow 28 is led by Breeding Department Head, Jennifer and Farrowing Department Head, Sarah.
“They are both awesome, spectacularly awesome,” laughed Mikey. “They kept things running at the farm while I helped at Sow 17 for a short period of time. They both worked really hard and got us through.”
The farm team also consists of Newborn Pig Specialist, Kylene, and animal caretakers Cadon, David, Brandon, Kenneth, Raece, Kevin, Tyrell, Isaac and Miranda.
“When you think of Mikey and the Sow 28 leadership team, you think of consistency,” said Sow Supervisor, Don Hunt. “Mikey is a consistent leader and his team follows suit. This is good trait to have during a PRRS shutdown and trying to clean up a herd and overall, what makes them so successful.”
Back in 2018, despite the crew’s hard work, the first PRRSv elimination attempt was not successful. Due to the farm’s unique layout, they had to get creative on implementing and executing protocols that would get the virus out of the farm.
“There were a lot of long, hard days,” recalled Sarah. “Our crew would wash and wash and then wash some more until we had the farm cleaned from top to bottom. We disinfected everything, down to the inside of fridges and cabinets. We weren’t messing around.”
“It was a trying time,” echoed Mikey. “Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first PRRSv break, so I knew that things would eventually get better. I tried to remind everyone of that, especially as our days consisted of a lot of tedious tasks. You just gotta’ stay the course.”
Earlier in March, both TLee and Don were so impressed with the farm’s hard work, they decided to bring in PRRSv negative gilts earlier than they typically like to. “Mikey, Jennifer, Sarah and the entire crew were so incredibly diligent on the protocols we had laid out for them, so we decided to move forward with the negative gilts,” explained TLee. “It was a big risk, but they succeeded! It just goes to show what a difference proper execution can make and this team nailed it. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish going forward.”
Last quarter, the farm saw significant improvement in several areas. The biggest was on the farrowing side of things, where they were able to improve their wean average by one pig, up to 11.4. They also increased total born conversion from 72.9% to 77.7%. On the breeding side, the farm increased their farrowing rate by 2.7% to 88.3% and total born by nearly half a pig to 14.7.
In addition to being named the Most Improved Sow Farm, Sow 28 has another accolade to celebrate. Over the past five years, they have been the best farm on sow mortality and continued that trend last quarter with 8.8%. According to Don, that further shows their diligence to providing excellent animal care through daily observations and husbandry skills.
“Those are big strides within a quarter,” said Don, our in-house production data cruncher. “But it’s because of the farm’s ability to setup plans, work within those plans and stick to the details that helped them achieve production success and become PRRSv negative. We are very proud of all their hard work.”