The Meaningful Work of Science-Based Solutions

When John* --the 2nd generation owner of a farrow-to-finish operation of 1500 sows and about 40,000 pigs marketed per year in the Midwestern United States, called me on a Friday in February he was, in his words, ‘desperate for a solution’ to a major prolapse issue. He had tried several products* sold by companies who claimed that they were ‘just as good as BIOMIN’ though they were seemingly unable to address the challenge that his farm faced. John asked me to send him enough product to feed 1500 sows for one month. A week later, he had already used half of the product and ordered 4 times as much as the initial order. I called him to arrange a meeting so that I could fully understand the issue on his farm and offer a tailored solution to his challenge. (* Names have been changed and competitor products omitted out of respect for those involved.)

Farm visit

When I had a chance to visit him on his farm, again on a Friday, we both instantly recognized each other from the Iowa Pork Congress, where he had stopped by the booth to discuss mycotoxins. He runs a family operation. His daughter works with all the sows in gestation and lactation, and his son does the crops and walks the finishing barns.

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All four of us met that day. An hour and a half into our visit, John confided in me that the number of butcher hogs they had sold in the last year was down by 22% of production. I saw in his face the way that affected him emotionally. He needed a solution to his problem to stem his loses—though it was not just about the money. He was nearly in tears when he explained the number of sows he had to euthanize due to vaginal prolapses. He respects those animals as the living, breathing beings that they are.

Mycotoxins detected

His supplier of his premix and the competitor product had done some mycotoxin testing that had uncovered deoxynivalenol and zearalenone contamination in the feed. This firm had been telling him for months that their product would solve his problem.

We arranged further testing through Romer Labs® which confirmed the deoxynivalenol and zearalenone contamination, and detected fumonisins as well. During our visit, I went over the results with him. Using the BIOMIN Mycotoxin Compendium, I explained characteristic signs of those mycotoxins symptoms in his sows and pigs.

A few weeks later

Not long after our meeting, John called me to ask if I thought that he should use the BIOMIN product in his finishers, and, if so, at which dosage. He was using a different competitor’s product. I offered a recommendation that I felt would be most cost-effective for him—and he ordered the necessary quantity of product right away. Then I asked him how the sows were doing. He said that the prolapse issue had dramatically improved. Sows were cycling normally and that overall health of the herd had improved enormously. His daughter has cautioned him about being too enthusiastic about the results, because she had seen things improve before only to deteriorate again. He felt that his problem is solved—and he is very happy.

Closing thoughts

One of the things that I find so rewarding about working at BIOMIN is that I get to help people solve problems every day and I get to work with a great team of people who also care about helping people solve those same problems.

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