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Beat the Summer heat: Review semen handling and storage protocols

Don’t let improper semen storage and handling impact your farm’s reproductive performance this summer.

19 June 2020, at 8:00am

Revisit these nine semen management practices before the temperatures start to rise.

  1. Manage ordering. Use >90% of semen within three days of ordering. Every additional day of semen age can reduce total born by 0.3 pigs per litter.
  2. Follow all biosecurity policies when bringing semen and AI supplies into facilities.
  3. Store semen unpacked, horizontal and loose at 61-64°F (16-18°C) to ensure air circulation. Be sure to use oldest doses first.
  4. Rotate doses daily. Record high/low temperatures. Reset the min/max thermometer. Report any variance from recommendations (61-64°F / 16-18°C) to manager. Fluctuations of 1.8 degrees outside acceptable range can reduce semen dose shelf life up to 1 day.
  5. Take only necessary amount of semen into the barn. Keep semen in insulated box with 62°F (17°C) gel packs. Have enough doses for 1 hour of breeding maximum.
  6. Rotate semen gently prior to connecting to the catheter.
  7. No latex! Do not use latex gloves during semen handling or during breeding.
  8. Do not place semen doses warmer than 66°F (19°C) back in the semen storage unit.
  9. Clean storage unit monthly and maintenance once a year. Maintenance should occur before the hottest months of summer hit.

Once you’ve reviewed these semen handling and storage tips, check out tips to improve farrowing rates.