SowBridge begins its fifth year of distance education on Nov. 7. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Swine Specialist Duane Reese says subscriber suggestions have helped maintain the value of the program.

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

Reese, the Nebraska contact for SowBridge, says the program is intended for people involved in managing or caring for boars, sows and/or litters, including owners, employees, technicians, managers and technical service providers. SowBridge is designed to improve the understanding and application of various tools and techniques dealing with the daily care of the breeding herd and piglets.

“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 says. “With the live phone presentation and slideshow viewed on computer, participants do not need Internet access and can take part from anywhere.”

Registration costs $250 for the first registration and $125 for each additional subscription from the same entity. This charge provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration. Costs are slightly different for non-U.S. mailing addresses. Reese encourages those potential subscribers to contact him at (402) 472-6425 or dreese1@unl.edu for more information.

Prior to each session, U.S. subscribers receive a CD containing that session’s presentation, plus information on accessing the live speaker presentation. Most participants will call a toll-free conference line to listen and interact with presenters. Each session begins at 11:30 a.m. central standard time and lasts about 45 minutes.

The year-long program is offered by subscription only with an Oct. 15 deadline for the first session on Nov. 7.

A brochure with information and a registration form can be found at http://www.ipic.iastate.edu/SowBridge/2012BrochureIPIC.pdf.

The Sowbridge schedule is as follows:

·        Nov. 7, 2012: Effect of increasing lactation length on productivity and weaned pig cost, Steve Dritz, DVM, Kansas State University;

·        Dec. 5, 2012: Welfare and productivity issues when using pen gestation systems, Ashley DeDecker, Murphy Brown, LLC;

·        Jan. 2, 2012: Pooling semen – all boars are not created equal, Amanda Minton, PIC;

·        Feb. 6, 2013: Employees role in biosecurity, Beth Ferry, Michigan State University;

·        March 6, 2013: Adding value to cull sows, Ken Stalder, Iowa State University;

·        April 3, 2013: Solving the heat stress problem, Tim Safranski, University of Missouri;

·        May 1, 2013: Vitamin D for sows, Merlin Lindemann, University of Kentucky;

·        June 5, 2013: A review on vaccinations, Butch Baker, DVM, Iowa State University;

·        July 3, 2013: Litter size and piglet birth weights, Mark Knauer, North Carolina State University;

·        Aug. 7, 2013: Single-service insemination technology, Rob Knox, University of Illinois;

·        Sept. 4, 2013: Energy efficiency for the swine operation, Jay Harmon, Iowa State University;

·        Oct. 2, 2013: Economic impact of transitioning from stalls to pen gestation housing, Brian Buhr, University of Minnesota.