There are more and more animal husbandry players endorsing the fact that artificial insemination (AI) offers numerous advantages over natural mating. A Boar ejaculate can be diluted in a semen extender, creating multiple insemination doses that can breed more sows than otherwise. This allows more availability of genetically superior boars, increasing the rate of genetic improvement within a herd.
Fewer boars will be required when a farm employs AI, and as a consequence, feed, veterinary, and housing costs are reduced. With AI, new genetics can be introduced into a herd and thus decreased hazards through generic inherence.
As a result, careful consideration should be given to boar management. Productivity and profitability are often less explored due to carelessness of developing a comprehensive breeding strategy to utilize boars to their fullest.
Pick the Best Boar
The quality of boar influences conception rate and litter size, and boar is responsible to half of the genetic makeup of their offspring. However, it is unwise to purchase boars from herds claimed to be superior without performance tests. Ask to see the boar's performance test results and check the results against those of the other boars in the same test group. It is even better if there are estimated breeding values (EBVs) available for the boars. Otherwise, differences in performance could be due to non-genetic effects like environmental factors and these cannot be passed onto a boar's progeny. Cross-herd evaluations of sire are also necessary. Breeding records should be archived to determine the reproductive performance of boars. The breeding system used should produce the best results in reproductive performance pertaining to the physical facilities and management program in each farm.
Monitor Health Status
The introduction of diseased stock poses the biggest threat to the herd's health status. Boars should only be brought in from well-established farms, and where their free from certain diseases, or parasites is guaranteed. A disease outbreak could cause disastrous loss. A period of quarantine (4~6 weeks) and acclimatization provides insurance against new diseases being introduced and allows new boars to be exposed and gain immunity to diseases in the field. To add, thermal stress should be prevented.
Keep Physical Contact
Young boars, about 30 weeks of age, need physical contact with other pigs in order to develop high serving performance. It is important to house boars near female pigs to maintain courting and serving behavior after puberty. These females can be either oestrus or non-oestrus sows but must be housed next to the boar pen. Boars should be provided the best environment to enhance their breeding performance.
Boars are usually fed between 2.0 and 3.0 kg of a balanced diet containing 0.55% available lysine, and a digestible energy (DE) of 12.5 ~ 13.5 mega joules per kilogram (MJ/kg). The amount fed depends on the age, weight and the amount of work the boar is doing. Supplementing the diet with omega-3 fatty acids can improve sperm quality and production, improving fertilization and litter size. It is important that the boar be kept in a lean working condition and not allowed to become overweight and inert.
Producers can use microscope to evaluate sperm motility and relative sperm concentration. Pre-warmed glass slide and cover slip are used to make sure the sperm condition corresponds to real situation. A qualified ejaculate should have motility over 70%, normal shape of sperm over 70%, and the total amount of sperm should be more than 3 billion.
Some breeders use photometer or CASA (Computer-assisted sperm analysis) systems to help them analyze the sperm quality. There is a brand-new innovation called iSperm analyzer (Aidmics Biotechnology), which can analyze sperm condition within a minute and require operation training to the minimum degree. And the price is pretty affordable. (Only around 10% of the equipment with the same functionality.) The iSperm works with iPad mini, and breeders are able to inspect sperm's morphology, concentration and motility right on the high-resolution screen. The data can also be stored to help breeders track records and establish a system for better management.
1. Using Artificial Insemination in Swine Production: Detecting and Synchronizing Estrus and Using Proper Insemination Technique
2. MANAGING SWINE REPRODUCTION
3. A Guide to Basic Boar Semen Collection, Evaluation and Processing Procedures
4. Basic Pig Husbandry - The Boar