When asked to build a dummy sow for artificial insemination instructional classes at Sampson Community College, welding-class students went beyond the plans that swine instructor Steve Matthis presented. For fun, they added a realistic head with a snout, ears, eyes and smiling lips.

The sow's feet are welded to sheet-metal plates with holes to permanently secure the dummy to a floor for regular farm use. For the boar's comfort, the students made a removable cover for the dummy sow's body. A remnant of indoor/outdoor carpet was used and spots were added using enamel paint.

Matthis mostly uses the dummy sow in his classroom at the Clinton, N.C. campus, but does take it to farms for semen-collection demonstrations and for AI refresher schools targeted at area Vo-Ag instructors.

Plans for the basic dummy – minus the head – can be found in the "AI Handbook," which is available from the National Pork Producers Council, Minitube or Nasco.