Artificial insemination in pigs
Reproductive assistance techniques, such as Artificial Insemination (AI), have significantly improved production rates on pig farms in recent years.
Reproductive assistance techniques, such as Artificial Insemination (AI), have significantly improved production rates on pig farms in recent years. On the other hand, according to the FAO (2016), pork is worldwide the most consumed type of red meat thanks to its excellent rate of food conversion, generating a significant demand for world food security. Consequently, implementing AI reproductive techniques allow optimizing production conditions, reducing their costs, and increasing their efficiency.
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What do we understand by Artificial Insemination?
This is a reproductive technique in pigs that consists of the deposition of diluted refrigerated or fresh semen inside the sow, through a cannula or catheter. The most common location to deposit it is at the cervical level, but good results have also been reported in the post-cervical area (in the uterus); there are commercial catheters for each one.
What should we keep in mind about semen?
Regarding the management of the semen used in the AI, it is reported that 99% is made with diluted semen refrigerated at 16-18 Â° C (60.8-64.4 Â° F) and only 1% is preserved as frozen diluted semen, reserving this only for storage high-value genetic material. It is important to note that refrigerated semen can be stored between 1 to 5 days, but it is more recommended to use it on the same day of collection to take full advantage of its capacity and avoid loss of quality that may decrease production parameters.
In general, for semen handling as well as for artificial insemination service, it is recommended to perform them in cool hours of the day (before 8 am and after 5 pm) to avoid problems related to the ambient temperature that may affect its effectiveness.
The semen used in the AI ââmust be subjected to an evaluation of macroscopic (volume, color) and microscopic parameters (motility expressed in percentage, concentration and sperm morphology, and others). Moreover, it is ideal to have semen that has a concentration of 2-5 billion sperm for every 100mL of this seminal fluid.
What should we keep in mind about the sow?
An important part of this reproductive technique is the detection of heat in the female and its consequent ovulation. To detect heat, the permanence reflex is used (the female remains immobile while having a male on top or an operator sitting on her back). The ideal time to perform the AI ââwill also depend on whether the sow is nulliparous, primiparous or multiparous. Synchronization programs are used to reduce the chances of error and to do the insemination at the right time for the sows; these methods can include the use of a vasectomized male, weaning management or hormonal methods.
Additionally, the moment when the insemination is carried out must take into account the exact period of ovulation. If this is done too early, the sperm will have lost viability, on the contrary, if it is done too late, the passing of hours will affect the egg. In one way or another, the probability of fertilization will decrease.
The period of ovulation is reported to occur between 36-48 hours after detecting heat signs. It is recommendable to assess the heat state twice a day and start inseminating the sow within the next 12 hours after heat detection 2 or 3 times. It is also suggested to perform this AI with a minimum of 12 hours difference between each dose to avoid excess and waste of the deposited semen.
After inseminating the sow, it is useful to stimulate it in the flank and vulva to generate uterine contractions that facilitate the movement of the semen towards the uterus. This technique will avoid the reflux of semen that can generate a loss of deposited sperm and less probability of fertilization. It is advisable to have the sows inseminated in a covering area where they are calm for 35-45 days, since stress can generate embryonic loss or reabsorption. After two weeks of having served the sow, the periodical gestational evaluation should be started or suspicious, in that case.
Different studies have shown that AI with refrigerated diluted semen deposited at the cervical or uterine level, compared to Natural Service, increases important productive parameters such as Conception Rate, Calving Rate, Number of Piglets Born per Litter, Number of Piglets per sow per year.
Other advantages of Artificial Insemination are listed below, as well as some disadvantages:
A continuaciÃ³n, se listan otras ventajas esta tÃ©cnica reproductiva, asÃ como algunas desventajas:
ADVANTAGES of artificial pig insemination
- Reduction in the risk of transmission of several diseases
- increase in the number of piglets produced from a high-quality parent
- Increased access to high-quality semen and genetic material from other regions or countries
- Decreased costs related to boar breeding and possible work accidents during the service
- Improvement in productive parameters when using male semen with higher genetic value
DISADVANTAGES of artificial swine insemination
- Difficulty in accessing technology in some regions
- Lack of availability of qualified personnel for collection, semen conservation and insemination processes of the sows
Finally, it must be recognized that the optimization and improvement in the reproductive processes of pig farms with the implementation of reproductive assistance services such as Artificial Insemination (AI), can lead to greater productive performance of these and improved efficiency. With the growth of the human population and the increase in the demand for food, it is necessary to set and achieve new productive goals to satisfy the market demands in all the countries that produce pork.
- AlemÃ¡n, D., Alfaro, M., & Hurtado, E. (2006). Efecto de la temperatura del semen sobre la respuesta reproductiva de cerdas. Idesia (Arica), 24(3), 33-37.
- Cane, F., Pereyra, N., Cane, V., Marini, P., & Teijeiro, J. M. (2019). Mejoramiento del porcentaje de pariciÃ³n mediante el uso de inseminaciÃ³n artificial en cerdas. Revista mexicana de ciencias pecuarias, 10(3), 583-594.
- Cuevas, P. A. L., Pedroza, C., & JimÃ©nez, C. (2005). EvaluaciÃ³n de la tÃ©cnica de inseminaciÃ³n artificial postcervical y su relaciÃ³n con los parÃ¡metros reproductivos. Revista de la Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y de Zootecnia, 52(II), 144-155.
- FAO, 2016. Cerdos y la producciÃ³n animal. Disponible online en:
- HernÃ¡ndez, P. J. E., FernÃ¡ndez, R. F., & MejÃa, R. A. I. (2008). Efecto de la monta natural y el uso de diferentes tipos de semen sobre la productividad de la cerda. Revista de Salud Animal, 30(2), 98-102.
- Maes, D., Lopez Rodriguez, A., Rijsselaere, T., Vyt, P., & Van Soom, A. (2011). Artificial insemination in pigs. In Artificial insemination in farm animals (pp. 79-94). In-Tech.
- Quintero-Moreno, A., Calatayud, D., & MejÃa, W. (2016). Fertilidad y prolificidad en cerdas nulÃparas inseminadas con semen criopreservado. Nota tÃ©cnica. Revista CientÃfica, 26(4), 233-238.
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