Nonproductive-sow days take money out of your pocket, so anytime you can reduce them your operation should become more profitable.

Dan Gosch, a producer from Ida Grove, Iowa, with 500 sows, reduced his nonproductive-sow days from 126 days in 1997 to 84 days in 1998. To accomplish this Gosch went from outdoor breeding to a crated gestation barn and from natural breeding to 98 percent artificial insemination.

These changes have given Gosch an extra 4.5 pigs per sow per year and he is currently running 22.5 pigs per sow per year.

Heat detection and quality of mating stood out as improved qualities as Gosch moved his system inside.

He has also found that the new system gives him more opportunity to use records he keeps with PigChamp systems to make management decisions.

"Information in PigChamp is more meaningful now, you're able to pick up more specific management related information that can measure some impact," says Gosch.

He didn't make any changes without first looking at plenty of data and examples. Gosch is a member of a producer peer group that uses a genetic consultant. He also uses his own production consultants.

"I listened to a lot of people tell stories of success regarding this type of system," says Gosch. "I had a lot of guinea pigs."

Gosch gives credit to the increases as a team effort. "I don't take a lot of credit for what is working here," he says. "A lot of the credit goes to people who have given me the correct direction of where to look."