Sowbridge Begins Fifth Year Of Distance Education

Educational sessions draw people around the globe to learn more about swine herd health and breeding.

Published on: Oct 10, 2012

The successful distance education program SowBridge will begin its fifth year Nov. 7 and University of Minnesota Swine Educator Mark Whitney said suggestions from subscribers help maintain the program's value.

"We asked participants for suggestions on topics and speakers, and are happy to provide current content on topics that people are interested in," Whitney said. "SowBridge provides all participants with the opportunity to hear directly from experts, and to contact those experts following the individual sessions."

Whitney, who along with Lee Johnston, are the Minnesota contacts for SowBridge. Whitney said the program is intended for people involved in managing or caring for boars, sows, and/or their litters, including operation owners, employees, technicians, managers, and technical service providers. SowBridge is designed to improve the understanding and application of various tools and techniques involved in daily care of the breeding herd and piglets.

Sowbridge Begins Fifth Year Of Distance Education
Sowbridge Begins Fifth Year Of Distance Education

"People from the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and West Indies took part in this past year's program, and they told us they appreciated having the opportunity for all employees to participate in the sessions without requiring any travel or other expenses," he said. "With the live phone presentation and slideshow viewed on computer, participants do not need internet access and can take part from anywhere."

Discussion topics include:

•Effect of Increasing Lactation Length on Productivity and Weaned Pig Cost
•Welfare and Productivity Issues When Using Pen Gestation Systems
•Pooling Semen – All Boars are not Created Equal
•The Employee's Role in Biosecurity
•Adding Value to Cull Sows
•Solving the Heat Stress Problem
•Vitamin D for Sows
•A Review on Vaccinations
•Litter Size and Piglet Birth Weights
•Single Service Insemination Technology
•Energy Efficiency for the Swine Operation
•Economic Impact of Transitioning from Stalls to Pen Gestation Housing

Entities with more than one location have the opportunity to add locations at a lower rate. Cost is $250 ($U.S.) for the first registration from an entity and $125 for each subsequent subscription from the same entity. This provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration.

Whitney said materials, delivery process, and program costs are slightly different for those with non-U.S. mailing addresses, and encouraged potential subscribers from outside the U.S. to contact Sherry Hoyer at IPIC by phone at 515-294-4496 or email for more information.

Before each session, U.S. subscribers receive a CD containing that session's presentation, along with information on accessing the live speaker presentation. Most participants will call a toll-free conference line to listen to and interact with presenters. Each session begins at 11:30 a.m. Central Time and lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Whitney said the yearlong program is offered by subscription only with an Oct. 15 deadline to ensure participants will receive materials for the first session on Nov. 7.

A brochure with information and a registration form is attached to this email and is also available on the IPIC Web site.  Minnesota residents wanting more information can contact Whitney at (507)389-5541.

SowBridge is sponsored by a group of 11 state universities – including ISU – from the major swine producing states.

Source: U-M Extension