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By: Jan Huisman
Production Improvement Specialist
Grand Valley Fortifiers

With today’s technology and the genetic potential of the animals being raised, it may seem that the possibilities to maximize production are endless. However, considering all these opportunities, it can be become difficult to keep an overview of the production on-farm. Swine producers today are running businesses with tight margins and in a lot of cases, require a new service approach. To be able to support our customers in the best way possible, Grand Valley Fortifiers is building a dedicated technical support team to assist our Livestock Business Consultants where needed.

Production improvement specialists work together with our colleagues Canada-wide to offer technical support to our customers. As a livestock premix and feed supplier, we have a talented team of nutritionists to manage the feeding programs for our customers. But there is more to raising a pig than high quality nutrition and this is where technical support roles come into play. This team can help with all areas of production, including general technical support, troubleshooting, and training.

In general, looking at the production level at a farm, “there is always room for improvement” is a saying that is used often. By looking at the whole picture, we try to look for opportunities to improve. Production can be influenced in many ways, either positively or negatively. Below are a few examples:

  • Management in the breeding or farrowing rooms
  • Feeding systems available
  • Farm layout (including pig flow) and ventilation systems
  • Health status of the herd

A combination of barn visits and data analyses from the sow management system, feed systems, and/or ventilation systems, can give great insights.

Pig production is all about averages, however, to improve these numbers, it is important to know what the average consists of. Which group of animals is influencing the average in a good or bad way? Is it a few outlier animals, with a uniform group otherwise?

Keeping the overview is key and it needs to be quick and easy to see this whole picture for regular monitoring. This allows farm owners and managers to quickly determine the areas that need more attention and decide with their team how to move forward. At Grand Valley Fortifiers, we can assist with creating this overview, while utilizing the current systems in the barn, and provide timely advice if desired by the customer. Please reach out to your Livestock Business Consultant if you would like to learn more.

Another part of technical support is troubleshooting when there are changes in the production level, either suddenly or as a trend over time. It is not always obvious why the production level changes, and this is where the Grand Valley Fortifiers technical support team can be of assistance. These “fresh set of eyes” can be helpful in determining the cause of the issue. The strategy created to recover production levels is always a customized approach, considering the individual farm. Having a useful overview of your farm’s production is key to understanding what is going on at the farm. However, to improve your production level, having a dedicated team on-farm is the key to success. Given our exposure to many farms across the country, we are in a unique position to see more than one example of a well-run farm. If there are areas of production that you would like to improve, specific on-farm training for staff can be organized in cooperation with the farm owner or manager. This ensures a customized approach, given an individual farm’s production level and what is truly feasible on-farm.

With the creation of a technical support team, our aim is to provide our customers with an additional resource to help their businesses be more profitable. A tailored approach to provide a valuable and regular overview, troubleshoot production issues, and offer supplemental training is a step in the right direction. Despite the unique challenges that producers may face, we believe that by working together, we can go further.

This article was written for the Spring 2024 Swine Grist. To read the whole Swine Grist, click the button below.