The Breeding and Gestation Management short course will be held on July 31-Aug. 1, at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach, Waseca, Minn. The first day will include classroom instructions from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  A hands-on session at the center's swine research facilities on the second day will run from 8 a.m. to noon. 

This two-day workshop is designed to increase participants understanding of the factors necessary to successfully breed sows and gilts and to care for them during gestation. Program organizers say the course is appropriate for individuals who have limited knowledge of pork production as well as experienced producers who want to review the basics and remain up to date.

The registration deadline is July 21, and enrollment is limited. University of Minnesota faculty and swine industry experts will provide instruction. The first registration from a farm is $100; additional participants from the same production system may register for $50 each. Individuals wishing to participate in multiple courses should call Minnesota Pork Board for a reduced fee schedule. The fee includes learning materials, lunches, breaks, instructor fees and biosecurity clothing for hands-on training sessions. Overnight lodging is the participant's responsibility.

Here's what will be covered:

  • Rearing Replacement Females:  Nutritional needs, body condition, proper environment, evaluation and selection guidelines, biosecurity, isolation and acclimation, successful gilt introduction
  • Mating Systems:  Pen vs. hand vs. A.I. mating, production schedules, pig flow, balancing culls with replacements, record keeping, vaccination/ health, management, feeders, lighting, flooring and sanitation
  • Breeding Practices:  Environmental stressors, animal handling, estrus detection, estrus cycles, reproductive physiology, boar management (semen collection, processing, evaluation, handling and storage)
  • Pregnancy Management:  Minimizing environmental stress, handling practices, timing issues, pregnancy detection, proper sow feeding
  • Preparing for Parturition:  Feeding to proper body condition, preparing sows for farrowing, performance targets, record evaluations and monitoring, assessing and troubleshooting reproductive failures
  • Hands-On:  This session incorporates numerous activities relating to materials covered in the classroom portion.

    For more information, contact Mark Whitney, University of Minnesota swine Extension educator, at (507) 389-5541 or Minnesota Pork Board Education Director Trudy Wastweet, at (800) 537-7675.

    Source: University of Minnesota