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Meet Suzie the sow

Published: Friday, July 11, 2014 12:28 p.m. CDT

I would like to introduce you to Suzie. She is a sow on our farm.

Her ear tag number is 2287. She joined our farm in early 2012. Suzie farrowed her sixth litter on July 9. She had 17 pigs born live. They were all nice-sized pigs weighing 3 pounds each.

We fostered three of her pigs onto another sow that only had 11 pigs. The sow that received Suzie’s extra pigs farrowed her first litter and needed more pigs to challenge her mothering ability and help her develop a good milk pattern for the future.

Suzie has a good history on our farm. She is an excellent mother and does her job well. The first five litters she has raised, she has produced the following statistics: 16 pigs born live, a 12-pig weaning average; and she farrows 2.59 times a year. Over her career she is averaging 30.5 pigs produced per year. Our computer program calculates all those numbers and gives her an index. The index is based on her personal information as compared to the rest of the farm. Suzie’s index is 112. The farm average is 100.

Suzie, although not the highest indexing sow on our farm, is above average. The highest index I have seen is 136. That was a gilt that did exceptionally well the first litter that she raised. She had 16 pigs born alive and raised 14 of them. I chose to talk about Suzie because of her good performance over a long period of time. Suzie is a great example for the rest of the herd. She is a great contributor to the success of our farm. I am not a sports enthusiast, but I would say Suzie is comparable to a baseball player with a batting average of .375, or a basketball player that averages 28 points per game, or a football player that averages 150 yards per game.

Suzie has a nice personality, is a joy to work around, never complains and just goes about doing her best. She is in good physical condition, easy to talk to and a good listener. She does, however, occasionally ask for another scoop of food, please.

Our goal at the farm is to do our best to provide the opportunity for all the other mothers to do their job well. We have developed protocols that we hope allow for every animal to reach their potential. We always realize that just as people are individuals and require individual attention, so it is with animals. As their caregivers we check each individual animal every day and make adjustments in standards to meet their individual needs.

Congratulations Suzie on doing a great job, and thank you for all your hard work!

Steve Cowser is a pork producer in the Bradford area.

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