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Forward planning helps cut conception rate drop

by 5m Editor
16 March 2007, at 12:39pm

UK It is now imperative pig producers check unit records to see how summer temperatures affect conception and farrowing rates, and then make provision to bring in extra replacements or retain older sows to maintain piglet numbers.

Vets suggest fertility suffers as light intensity and daytime temperatures rise, typically from June to August. With barely enough time to implement the industry standard nine-week isolation for replacements entering units before summertime begins, producers must act now, warns Angela Cliff, BPEX AI specialist.

"Units suffered badly in last year's record temperatures. Look at unit records and judge how many extra services are required to maintain optimum piglet numbers," she advises.

"A 10% increase in gilt numbers is common, but 20% may be needed where conception rates fall to 60%. Producers may consider retaining older sows for an extra sixth or seventh parity - but check litter performance first."

Other factors can affect fertility, warns Derek Armstrong, MLC veterinary advisor. "Poor conception rates and/or the occurrence of abortions or still-births - that should be below 1% - may signal infectious disease, such as leptospirosis, is to blame. Look out for tell-tale signs such as discharge from vulva and consult your vet," he advises.

"Service procedure needs to be stepped up in summer. AI semen must be kept at 17C and boars kept cool to maintain sperm viability. Replenish wallows on outdoor units and check ventilation in buildings," adds Mr Armstrong.

Source: Fwi

5m Editor