Chief Veterinary Comments- Data Driven Decisions

We live in the so-called “Information Age”. Data is being collected all around us. Today, the power of computing and digital technology have made collecting, analyzing and transferring data easier than ever. As a result, we have more information than ever at our fingertips. Good information for making business decisions can be invaluable; however, it often feels like we are being bombarded with data. It’s hard to keep up. What information should you use? What information is accurate? What information is applicable to your farm? Whose information do you trust?

To be a competitive pork producer today, you need good information in a number of categories. In addition to data you can trust, you also need a reliable advisor to help ensure you are making the best decisions for your farm.

Production Performance

Knowing and understanding the biological performance of the pigs on your farm is fundamental to continuous improvement and remaining competitive.

  • How accurate is your performance data?
  • What are today’s industry standards?
  • Who are you benchmarking your farm’s performance against?
  • What are the top 2-3 key performance indicators that you are focused on for improvement?


Ultimately, the financial performance of your farm is the most important data. Good decisions based on good data should result in a profitable farm.

  • Does your accounting system provide you with timely and accurate data in which to make the best business decisions?
  • Do you have an advisor for your farm that can help guide big picture decisions:
    • Should I feed more pigs?
    • Should I buy more land?
    • Should I rent a barn or build a new one?
    • How should I bring the next generation into the farming operation?


Lots of research has been done on swine health, genetics, nutrition, etc.

  • Are you basing your decisions on research done by people marketing a product or by independent 3rd parties with scientifically designed trials?
  • Who is helping you interpret the results of scientific data?


  • How healthy is your farm?
  • What swine diseases are most responsible for limiting the performance of your pigs?
  • How much is disease costing?
  • (How much “Health Tax” are you paying?)
  • What are you doing today to improve the health of your pigs tomorrow?


  • How do your diets stack up against others in the industry?
  • Are you optimizing ingredient inclusion rates based on cost and performance?
  • How is your nutritionist compensated?


At first, all of this data and all of these decisions might look daunting. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help. At PIPESTONE, our mission is to help farmers in all aspects of their pig production business. We have experts and service offerings in all the categories listed above and a team committed to helping farmers continuously improve their farm and business performance. Please contact PIPESTONE today if you would like assistance in using data to improve your operation.


Article by: Dr. Joel Nerem, Chief Veterinary Officer

Pipestone Veterinary Services