When Sarah Probst Miller, DVM, and Carthage Veterinary Service (CVS) staff first started work to fix a troubled Illinois hog farm, the farm's preweaning mortality was 15-17%, stillborn rate was 8-9% and pig variation at weaning was high.

With a lot of training and working with employees and using critical care techniques, the CVS staff helped the farm reduce its stillborn rate to 3-4%, and its preweaning mortality to 7-8%.

Training improved performance, Miller explains. But as it turned out, the main problem was that the wrong employee was working in farrowing. Once a change was made, performance improved to 29 pigs/sow/year (psy), vs. 23 psy the previous year.

“Some farms can change things right away with the right tools and knowledge — but if it is not happening, maybe that employee is a very good employee, but maybe their strengths are in other areas of production and a change needs to be made,” Miller says.

CVS' Training Toolboxes software enables veterinary staff to use a Web site to review understanding on specific lessons and tasks via quiz scores, monitor results over time and thus drive interventions on the farm. Followup visits to the farm guide interventions and further training.