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Welcome to Benchmark 2015

The 2015 edition of Benchmark Magazine marks the tenth anniversary of this publication. The seed of the vision of this publication was planted by former Farms.com president, Doug Maus. When Farms.com purchased the rights to the PigCHAMP software in 2002, Doug not only saw the value of the PigCHAMP brand that continues to represent the world’s most widely acclaimed swine management software, but he also saw the inherent value of the benchmarking database that was first initiated at the University of Minnesota several years prior. Doug saw this as an asset not only for the pork producers who participate in the PigCHAMP Benchmarking program, but also the value that this collective data set can provide to the industry as a whole. Sharing this information broadly and providing a forum for thoughtful analysis and discussion of related topics was, and still is the mission of Benchmark. Doug passed away suddenly in 2006, and although he was only able to see the first issue of Benchmark in 2006, the leadership and foresight he exhibited is honored with the theme for this edition “Following Through On A Vision”.

We have been fortunate over the years to publish work from industry-leading authors representing research, academia, allied industry and production systems. This edition is no different. With articles ranging from a review of the last 10 years of benchmarking data by Dr. John Mabry, insight on promising research, a look into the future of swine production education, a perspective of the exploding market in China from the inside, and more, we believe you will find this issue the most interesting and informative to date.

As always, we would like to offer a sincere thanks to our contributors, advisors, advertisers and everyone who has made Benchmark and invaluable resource for the past 10 years.

- DOUG MAUS, 1956-2006
Doug was a successful, visionary entrepreneur. He founded M&F Livestock as a livestock brokerage company. As the Internet became a changing force in the business world, he joined forces with other entrepreneurs to create what would eventually become Farms.com. Doug served as President and CEO of Farms.com from 2001 to 2006. During his leadership, the company grew rapidly, with offices across North America serving thousands of customers.

Doug was a loving father to his four children. Doug loved to work hard and play hard. He was a life-long athlete, he played sports like he lived his life – combining his physical abilities and skills with a thoughtful approach to the game – he liked to win but he loved to play, compete and be with his teammates even more. Doug played hockey from an early age and continued playing a couple times a week with a close knit group of friends. Doug suffered his heart attack during his weekly hockey game with his friends.

Doug enjoyed golfing, though with his busy lifestyle he did not get out as often as he would have liked. He was fortunate to travel across North America and had the opportunity to play on numerous championship courses with business associates and at industry events. His friends will tell you he was a good golfer and that everyone enjoyed the good natured discussions that took place during the round. As a child, Doug was surrounded by the livestock sector – in the later years, his focus was the swine sector. He was passionate, involved and well connected within the North American swine industry and loved to make new friends and share industry stories.

The Farms.com family knows that Doug would be proud of what this company has become. In addition to PigCHAMP, Farms.com now owns and operates leading job boards – AgCareers.com and CareersInFood.com, and has expanded online to include a number of offerings including used farm equipment. Though he passed away some time ago, his leadership is still part of the DNA of Farms.com.

The Power of PigCHAMP Data To Propel The Industry Forward

Mary Feldskov

Across the globe, PigCHAMP databases house records on millions of animals. On the farm, managers use this information to make daily management decisions – to breed or to cull? To retain or to sell? Analysis of cumulative data helps managers with long-term business planning and decision making...

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Building Innovation Into What We Do - Everyday

Lee Whittington, BSc(Agr), MBA, PAg

At Prairie Swine Centre we start every meeting with a safety tip. Today’s safety tip is also an innovation – the deadstock mover. According to workplace research we should be careful when lifting anything greater than 15% of our body weight...

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Effects Of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus On Sow Herd Reproduction

Megan Inskeep, DVM

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) was confirmed in the United States in May of 2013, and quickly spread across the swine industry. Sow farms affected experienced up to 100% mortality in baby pigs for three to four weeks on average before enough immunity had developed in the sow herd. Nurseries also experienced increased mortality as many of these piglets were weaned at a young age...

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An Overview of the Last 10 Years of Benchmarking Data

Dr. John Mabry

This article is simply an overview of the last ten years of benchmarking data from the Pigchamp.com database of reproductive trait performance. Over a ten year period there is some change to be expected in the reproductive performance of swine herds in the USA. But just how much change is expected, and what has been seen in the data? ...

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Benchmarking Summary 2014

Susan Olson

Benchmarking is an inevitable part of any production process. It can be done informally, through comparisons during conversations at meetings or other get-togethers. It can be done through retrospective comparisons, by asking producers to recall prior productivity levels. Finally, it can be done by taking the records and analyzing the data in a standardized method across farms...

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Tackling The Changing Landscape Of Pork Production In China

Gangpu Lee

With over 50% of worldwide pig production, 735 million marketed pigs in 2014, China is the powerhouse leader of the world’s swine industry. By comparison, the world’s second largest producer, the United States, is only 1/5th of China’s size. Indeed, many market opportunities exist due to China’s dominating size, but even more exist due to the significant productivity gaps across its pig production. For example, the national average weaned pigs per sow per year is about 15 and the feed conversion is 3.1:1, compared to 25 and 2.6:1 respectively in North America, Europe, or Brazil...

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AgCareers.com: A Vision To Drive the Talent Pipeline

Bonnie Johnson

More than ten years ago, Eric Spell saw that the agricultural industry needed to raise the bar on recruitment practices in order to drive the talent pipeline. In the early 2000s, Monster.com, CareerBuilder and other job boards started to pop up on the internet. “That is when the light bulb in my head started flashing and I went to work designing a website for online recruitment in agriculture,” shared Spell, President of AgCareers.com...

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Iowa Lakes Community College

Mary Feldskov
When Kelly Dodge returned to teach at her alma mater at Iowa Lakes Community College, she brought with her the skills, knowledge and tools she had gained in more than 14 years in the pork production industry. Among those tools was PigCHAMP Knowledge Software, which is now a key teaching tool in Iowa Lake’s Agriculture Production Technology Program...

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Precision Feeding Is The Future Of Swine Production

Kyra Lightburn

What’s the future of swine production in Ontario? One thought is precision feeding gestating sows for increased economic efficiency and decreased environmental impact, say researchers at the University of Guelph...

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Genetic Improvements – A Key Component to Success on the farm

Bjarne Holm, PHD Chief Development Officer, Topigs Norsvin
Together we live in a dynamic and exciting business environment in which the market and technology are constantly changing. In this context Topigs Norsvin must make the right strategic choices to follow our vision “Progress in pigs. Every day.” Topigs Norsvin’s mission is to serve people, planet, and profit. We do this by striving to be the most innovative genetic company in the world...

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Cargill Goes Mobile

Mary Feldskov

In the mid-1990s, when cell phones were still the size of a brick and computers dominated desktops, handheld data collection was a fledgling but promising innovation for the pork industry. Pigtales, then owned by PIC, first developed a commercial handheld mobile device in 1994, but it never really took off amongst producers – the technology was still in its infancy; internet and wireless connectivity was not yet widely adopted; and the paper and pen had not yet been replaced by touchscreen and Ipads...

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