Hands-on learnings in swine science

February 22, 2021

AN S 225 - swine scienceAnimal Science 225 is an introductory swine science class that covers best practices and decisions for raising swine. Students learn about the basics of swine husbandry, disease identification and the integrated production flow.

Even with the COVID-19 precautions in the Fall 2020 semester that included social distancing and many courses moving to an online or hybrid format, this class was able to take part in many hands-on activities throughout the semester. Students completed heat detection and breeding of sows as well as farrowing and caring for the litter.

Students focus on specific areas of the production cycle including sow reproductive care, nursery and finisher care. Students also learn about general knowledge in the industry and how to manage building ventilation. This course also facilitates an introduction to swine organizations, companies and current issues in the industry.

“My favorite topic from ANS 225 was when Dr. Greiner talked about niche markets and alternative hog farming. Growing up around a commercial hog farm, it was really interesting to have pig production explained from a different perspective,” said Grace Christensen, a junior in animal science.

The class visited the Iowa State meat laboratory to learn about carcass composition, cuts of meat, pork quality and the basics of necropsy. Students had the opportunity to take the course concepts full circle by then preparing a dish featuring pork.

Students also learned about workplace skills to prepare them for their future careers. They completed team building exercises and learned how to assess and work with different personality styles.

"It was a great hands-on class with lots of different learning opportunities, both in and outside of the classroom! As a student, I was able to gain lots of experience and knowledge of modern-day swine production,” said Nathan Behrends, a junior in agricultural studies.

If you are interested in learning more about swine production and animal science, please email Justin Chapman, our student services specialist at jjchap@iastate.edu for more information.