Conventional and alternative breeding and gestation management options are the focus of Swine Training Programs scheduled for July in Waseca, Minn., and Morris, Minn.

Breeding and Gestation Management will be held July 27-28, at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca. Alternative Breeding and Gestation Management will occur on July 31-Aug. 1, at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris.

The registration deadline for either session is July 17.

At the Waseca workshop, instructors will examine and evaluate indoor housing systems using individual stalls and large-group housing. At the Morris workshop, instructors will examine and evaluate alternative-housing systems, including large-group pens in hoop buildings and the Swedish deep-bedded system.

The curriculum for the two sessions will be similar in content but will differ slightly to meet the participants' educational objectives, and to address variations between conventional and alternative systems. The two-day intensive workshops are designed to increase participants' understanding of the factors involved in successfully breeding and caring for gilts/sows during gestation. The course is appropriate for people with limited pork production knowledge as well as for veteran producers who want to review the basics and stay abreast of recent developments or investigate alternative systems.

Classroom instruction on the program's first day will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. A hands-on session will take place on the second day at the centers' swine research facilities. It will run from 8 a.m. to noon. The hands-on session will incorporate many of the details presented in the classroom portion of the course. By completing the course, participants will be automatically certified or re-certified under the Pork Quality Assurance program.

Program cost is $100 per person. It includes learning materials, meals, breaks, instructor fees and biosecurity clothing for hands-on training sessions. Additional participants from the same production system may register for $50 each. Overnight lodging is the student's responsibility.

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

Minnesota Pork Board.