The distance-education program SowBridge will begin its 10th year in February. This low-tech distance-education opportunity combines electronic materials with live presentations via teleconference and focuses on topics most relevant to those working with sows, boars, piglets and genetic and reproductive issues.
Iowa State University animal science professor and extension swine specialist Ken Stalder said suggestions from subscribers help maintain the program’s value.
“Each year, we ask participants for suggestions on topics and speakers and follow through as much as possible to provide current content that people are interested in,” Stalder said. “SowBridge provides all participants with the opportunity to hear directly from experts and to contact those experts following the individual sessions.”
SowBridge is designed to improve the understanding and application of various tools and techniques involved in the daily care of the breeding herd and piglets. Operation owners, employees, technicians, managers and technical service providers are encouraged to consider registering.
“People from the U.S., Canada and Ireland took part in the 2017 program and told us they appreciated having the opportunity to participate in these learning opportunities without having to worry about travel or other expenses,” Stalder said. “With the live phone presentation and slideshow available on a computer, participants do not need internet access and can take part from anywhere.”
Before each session, subscribers receive information on that session and a link to download the speaker’s presentation. Those who request it can also receive a CD with the material for each session. For the session itself, 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.
The cost is $250 (U.S.) for the first registration from an entity, and each subsequent registration is half that amount. Each registration provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration, including audio recordings of the live session.
“Materials, delivery process and program costs are slightly different for those with non-U.S. mailing addresses,” Stalder said. “Anyone with questions, regardless of location, should contact Sherry Hoyer at the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State for more information.” Hoyer can be reached by calling (515) 294-4496 or emailing [email protected].
To provide a look at the content of SowBridge sessions, an example video was created using the presentation material and audio recording from a 2017 session where speaker Corinne Bromfield presented “Identifying Scours.”
The yearlong program is offered by registration only. Jan. 16 is the registration deadline to ensure that participants receive materials for the first session on Feb. 7. The program brochure contains details and the registration form.
The session dates, speakers and their industry affiliations and topics for 2018 are as follows:
Feb. 7 — Jamee Eggers, National Pork Board, “Common Swine Industry Audit — Updates & Opportunities for Improvement";
March 7 — Jeff Bender, University of Minnesota, UMASH, “Needlestick Prevention”;
April 4 — Thomas Parsons, University of Pennsylvania, “Managing Group Sow Gestation”;
May 2 — Lee Johnston, University of Minnesota, and Brian Richert, Purdue University, “Heat Mitigation for Sows”;
May 30 (June session) — Robert Knox, University of Illinois, “On-Farm Semen Evaluation & Storage”;
July 5 — Kara Stewart, Purdue University, “Intrauterine Insemination”;
Aug. 1 — Ron Ketchem, Swine Management Services, “Batch Farrowing: Do You Need to Consider?”;
Sept. 5 — Roy Kirkwood, University of Adelaide, Australia, “Reducing Stillbirths & Early Neonatal Mortality”;
Oct. 3 — Dale Hentges, The Maschhoffs, "Day 1 Piglet Care”;
Nov. 7 — Madonna Benjamin, Michigan State University, “Euthanasia on Farms: A Practical Approach”;
Dec. 5 — Chris Rademacher, Iowa State University, “Biosecurity Practices: Before & After PEDV,” and
Jan. 9, 2019 — Maria Pieters, University of Minnesota, “Controlling the Spread of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae.”
SowBridge is sponsored by a group of 11 state universities from the major swine-producing states.