I get to celebrate my 3rd Mother’s Day as a Mom this weekend. My husband likes to start the day off by treating me to an “authentic” Mother’s Day breakfast in bed. This involves soggy cereal, a cup of orange juice and a mug of coffee. (Not to worry, there are usually some lovely flowers or a new house plant waiting for me on the kitchen table!) My 2 year old is just excited to be along for the ride and I particularly enjoy the cuddles with him while we watch his favorite tv show, Curious George. (You got it. Even on Mother’s Day, the toddler wins the rights to the remote…)
I remember similar Mother’s Day celebrations when I was a kid. We’d wake up early, fill a bowl to the brim with cheerios, find something that can pass off as a tray and waltz into our parents’ room excited to “treat” Mom to a specially prepared breakfast. Mom would never complain, but other than a special Mass and a gift or flowers with hugs, we didn’t celebrate Mom enough over Mother’s Day weekend. Unfortunately, whoever decided May should be the month we celebrate Mother’s Day, didn’t consult with planting schedules. In addition, when it’s all hands on deck with the sow farm, you get used to celebrations being cut short.
If you’re in the swine reproduction business, you’re surrounded by mothers. Mothers whose purpose is to produce and nourish pigs used to feed people around the world. That’s not a small or insignificant task. As genetics and nutrition improve throughout our industry, we continue to expect increased production from our mothers. And they’re delivering.
We featured a blog post awhile back called, “Reproduction is a luxury.” Its basic premise is that all of the sow’s basic needs have to be met before her body will allow her to successfully reproduce.
Sow mortality and replacement rates have increased in recent years, enough that our industry has taken it upon themselves to get to the bottom of it. As we should. Each sow’s long term success affects the farm’s bottom line.
We demand a lot from our swine mothers, but are we giving them all the tools to deliver? We can’t expect longevity if we don’t offer the important fundamentals of her reproductive success, like fresh feed, fresh water, and clean air.
This Mother’s Day, let’s keep all of our mothers in mind and consider what it takes for them to be successful. For our human Moms, that’s showing a lot of appreciation for all they do. They often have to be both parents during planting and harvest season while planning and preparing meals, making parts runs, and even running the grain cart themselves. The farming mothers I’ve seen are constantly on the move. Multi-tasking is an art that farming wives and mothers have mastered.
For our pig moms, consider what they need to be successful on the farm and ensure they receive it. These sows are our livelihood, so let’s make it easier for them to reach success.
Happy Mother’s Day, Moms!
Until next time,