It is with great honor that we at Swine Vet Center get to congratulate Dr. Tim Loula for being the recipient of the 2021 Minnesota Pork Board Distinguished Service Award. This prestigious award recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond to ensure the success of pig farming and pork production in Minnesota.
Dr. Loula, or “Doc Tim” as he is known by the many he has mentored, grew up in Northfield, MN and spent summers helping out on his cousin’s dairy farm. He also spent time riding around with a general practice veterinarian which allowed him to experience firsthand the life of a livestock veterinarian. Loula attended the University of Minnesota Veterinary College and while there, traveled to farms and meetings with Dr. Al Leman. It was there his passion for pigs led him to become a swine practitioner. It was also during his time at the University that he met his wife and #1 supporter of 40+ years, Ruth.
After graduation in 1978, Dr. Loula began working at the Nicollet Vet Clinic in Nicollet, Minnesota, where his focal point was on the swine portion of that mixed animal practice. It was there that Loula saw opportunities to improve the swine industry with new ideas for that time, such as multisite production, raising pigs indoors and using modern European genetics. Swine became his true focus when he partnered with Dr. Paul Yeske and started Swine Vet Center in St. Peter, Minnesota, a practice devoted exclusively to the swine industry, that has now grown to 14 veterinarians serving clients all over the Midwest.
Whether standing in front of a crowd of distinguished professionals and colleagues at leading industry meetings, or behind a farrowing crate teaching a new employee how to split suckle, Loula has always been a great teacher and communicator.
Tim has a voracious appetite for learning and keeps up to date with the swine industry, but his interest doesn’t stop with pigs. He also stays abreast with what’s new in the rest of the world, and with this knowledge and dedication he has been able to help implement new and innovative ideas for individual systems and the industry as a whole. Being in the “top 10%” and “move the carrot” are things most of us have often heard him say— and it’s been the way he has been able to keep himself and his clients continually moving forward, never satisfied with the status quo.
Dr. Tim Loula, the 2021 Distinguished Service award winner, is a tireless leader who has helped to shape the swine industry into what it is today. His contributions to Minnesota as well as the rest of the country have benefitted pig farmers, veterinarians and researchers alike, helping to feed the world with safe, delicious and nutritious pork!
The Importance of Record Keeping
There’s a line in a movie that goes something like “If nobody sees it, it didn’t happen.” Well, the same could apply to records. If nobody records it, it didn’t happen and eventually inaccuracies are going to catch up with you and your herd.
Good records have been the cornerstone to many of the improvements made in the swine industry over the last decades. Many important decisions like breeding targets, farrowing targets, culling, veterinary/treatment decisions, gilt acquisition, pig flows and others are all dependent on accurate records.
The following are suggestions for making your records more accurate and useful.
Record right away — It’s important to record data right away. Relying on memory and telling yourself you’ll take care of it later is a big reason for inaccurate records. The industry is moving more and more towards pen side electronic record with either QR (Quick Response code) readers or RFID (Radio-frequency identification) tag readers. This is to ensure records are recorded right away and you have the most up to date decisions being made.
Necropsies are important — When deciding on death reasons, getting to the bottom of the case will always improve the accuracy of the mortality reason.
Keep it simple — Too many options when it comes to death reasons can lead to confusion and guessing. Keeping a simple list of the main death reasons will make it easier and more accurate.
Notes to self and others —Not all records need to make it to the computer. There are many things that should be written down as a way of communicating to others and yourself, special things that might be happening to a room/barn. High-low temperatures, whole litter treatments, sows that are actively farrowing, reminders you need to do something later or even a warning sign on a crabby sow to keep your coworkers safe. These are all important messages that make your barns more efficient.
Separate sow deaths from euthanasia deaths—This becomes important information when considering the timing of the cull truck and different accommodations could be considered if too many animals are euthanized vs being put on the cull truck.
White boards—White boards can tell you at a glance how you’re doing and can be a quick and handy way for everyone at your barn to see how things are going. Progressive producers are switching to TV’s in the breakroom with up to date information on all key performance indicators.
Training staff on records—It is not only important to show everybody how to record all aspects of our production but to teach them the reasons behind the information so they understand it. Explaining that mortality reasons will have an impact on vaccinations, medication in feed and how we flow our pigs will give everybody more reasons to record accurate information.
Erysipelas and ileitis vaccine reminder
After the record cold temperatures we’ve had this chilly February, it’s a nice break to think ahead to the vaccinations your pigs will need to protect them from summertime diseases. Your Swine Vet Center veterinarian would be happy to develop a vaccination plan to keep your hogs safe.
SVC Office Hours: Monday through Friday 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
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