On Oct. 8, 2011, members of the University of Minnesota Extension Swine Team will lead a workshop to help beginning hog farmers develop the skills necessary to properly manage a deep-bedded, group-farrowing barn. The workshop will be held at the West Central Research and Outreach Center at Morris, MN, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Registration will start at 9:30 a.m., and the first presentation will begin at 10 a.m. in the Administration Building. University of Minnesota swine scientist Yuzhi Li will go over the basic management steps necessary to keep sows and pigs in good health and productive. After lunch, the group will move to the barn to observe several piglet management practices, such as castration, giving iron shots, clipping teeth, ear notching and tail docking. A tour of the group-farrowing barn will follow.

Main topics will include:

  • Sow selection for mothering ability
  • Sow behavior at farrowing and lactation
  • Feeding the sow during farrowing/lactation
  • Barn/pen design
  • Feeders/waterers
  • Sow handling and worker safety

Potential complications associated with farrowing/lactation will also be discussed, such as farrowing difficulties, no milk, sows farrowing in the same pen, piglet crushing and how to wean larger litters.

Pre-registration is important to help the educators plan for lunch and for supplies needed in the barn. Lunch will be provided. Cost of the workshop is $30/adult, $40/couple or business partners, $10/student. Please contact Wayne Martin at the University of Minnesota at (612) 625-6224 or at marti067@umn.edu to register for the event.