A new program from Pipestone Veterinary Services is focused on improving animal health and farm profitability through a proactive and planned approach.
The Pig Vet program was launched in January 2018 and includes scheduled visits from a Pipestone veterinarian to a producer’s operation each year with the number of visits dependent of each producer’s unique need. These visits focus on understanding the entire operation and providing recommendations that can address ongoing problems or help boost productivity and profitability.
“Instead of spending time during an emergency visit to just fix immediate problems, we are able to spend time understanding how problems are developing and find a way to minimize or eliminate them in the future,” said Dr. Joseph Yaros, a veterinarian based in the Pipestone, Minnesota, clinic.
The program is available at each of the five Pipestone Veterinary Services’ locations and because it is designed to focus on each individual producer’s needs, it can deliver benefits to any operation from farrow to finish regardless of size.
Dr. Yaros said the program is tailored to each producer, but common areas of focus include vaccination schedules, responsible antibiotic use, nutrition, biosecurity, disinfectants, as well as planned growth and expansion, marketing and overall changes in the industry that could affect the operation.
There are already a number of examples of how the Pig Vet approach has improved animal health and the bottom line for producers.
“By reviewing treatment protocols, we were able to put into place a plan to use antibiotics more responsibly, which also decreased one farm’s cost of animal health products by $3 a pig,” he said.
Producers have also used the program to address challenges in pigs meeting target market weight.
“By identifying ways to improve growth and yield, in one example, we found opportunities to increase profitability by $250,000 or more in a year,” he said.
Other producers have used the Pig Vet consultations to review biosecurity measures on their farms or to discuss ways to reduce e-Coli issues in nursery pigs by addressing the nutrition program to promote better gut health in the pigs.
“For all of the producers that have started the program it has been worth the investment,” said Dr. Yaros. “On each visit, we are able to find cost savings or productivity improvements that more than cover the cost of the program itself.”
Producers who participate in the Pig Vet program are also tapping into the expertise and knowledge of the entire Pipestone team.
“If there is an issue I don’t have expertise in, I can reach out to others in the Pipestone network to get the answers we need,” said Dr. Yaros.
There is not a set schedule for the visits each year. Producers work with the veterinarians to select dates that work best for them, or to identify times when they have experienced challenges in their production system in the past.
Dr. Yaros also noted that there is no maximum time limit on each Pig Vet visit.
“It eliminates the concern about being charged for the amount of time that the veterinarian is spending on the farm and gives us the time we need to have important conversations about the operation,” he said.
Producers interested in learning more about the Pig Vet program can contact Christy Jackson at 507-384-1470 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I enjoy this program because it allows us to get to know the producer as well as their infrastructure and overall business and take time to explore areas that can improve productivity and profitability,” he said. “Anything we can do to reduce cost or increase gain is always a positive opportunity.”