SowBridge educational program begins in February

SowBridge, a distance educational series sponsored by Kansas State and 10 other universities, is set to begin its 12th program year in February. 

Registration is due by Feb. 15 for the program, which is designed for those who work with sows, boars and piglets. The SowBridge series pairs electronically provided materials with live presentations via teleconference. 

The online program begins on Feb. 5. A registration form is available at 

Joel DeRouchey, a K-State Research and Extension swine specialist, said that suggestions from past participants helped to shape the current program. “SowBridge provides all participants with the opportunity to hear directly from experts, and to contact those experts following the individual sessions,” he said.

The program cost has been reduced to $200 for the first registrant from an organization, and half that amount for each additional participant from the same organization.

“We feel the educational information appeals to sow producers of all sizes,” DeRouchey said. “By lowering this year’s registration fee, we hope more people will be able to take part and realize the value of the information provided.”

SowBridge is designed to improve the understanding and application of various tools and techniques involved in daily care of the breeding herd and piglets. Sessions are typically scheduled for the first Wednesday of every month.

“With the live phone presentation and slideshow available on computer or other device, participants can participate from anywhere without needing internet access,” DeRouchey said.

The distance learning approach allows people to take part without having to travel, take time from work or worry about weather conditions. During each session, participants can ask questions of the industry expert presenter and discuss with other participants from the comfort of their home, office or swine unit.

Before each session, participants receive a link to download the presentation and any additional information provided by the presenter. Participants call in for the audio portion of each session to listen to the presenter while following the presentation file on their own computer or device. Sessions begin at 11:30 a.m. Central time and last no more than an hour.

Each registration provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration, including audio recordings of the live session. Materials, delivery process and program costs are slightly different for those with non-U.S. mailing addresses.

Regardless of location, those with questions on the program or registration should contact Sherry Hoyer at the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State for more information. Hoyer can be reached by phone at 515-294-4496 or email [email protected]

A sample session of SowBridge session is available by video, The example was created using the presentation material and audio recording from a 2017 session where speaker Corinne Bromfield presented, “Identifying Scours.”

The list of speakers and topics for 2020 includes:

  • Feb. 5 – Pam Zaabel, Iowa State University: “African Swine Fever and Secure Pork Supply”;

  • March 4 – Justin Brown, Iowa State University; Chelsea Hamilton, IDALS and ISU: “What You Need to Know About Foreign Animal Diseases”;

  • April 1 – Kiah Gourley and Jason Woodworth, Kansas State University: “Feeding Strategies for Pre-farrow Females on Piglet Survivability”;

  • May 6 – Mike Ellis, University of Illinois: “Impact of Drying Newborn Piglets”;

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  • May 27 – Albert Rovira, University of Minnesota: “Porcine Circovirus type 3: What We Know”;

  • July 1 – Ken Stalder, Iowa State University: “Capturing Value of Cull Sows”;

  • Aug. 5 – Steve Moeller, The Ohio State University: “Maintenance of Euthanasia Equipment”;

  • Sept. 2 – Erin Cortus, University of Minnesota: “Gestation/Lactation Ventilation Do’s and Don’ts”;

  • Oct. 7 – Jose Ramirez, Virox Animal Health: “Proper Disinfectant Application”;

  • Nov. 4 – Rob Knox, University of Illinois: “Induction Protocol Updates”;

  • Dec. 2 – Andy Brudtkuhl, National Pork Board: “Updating Technology in Pork Production”; and

  • Jan. 6, 2021 – Tom Parsons, University of Pennsylvania: “Electronic Sow Feeding Management Tips and Tricks.”

More information including the registration brochure is available online at For more information, contact Hoyer at 515-294-4496 or [email protected], or DeRouchey at [email protected] or 785-532-2280.