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New Boar Quality Assurance Scheme

by 5m Editor
19 June 2009, at 11:05am

UK - Although AI now accounts for 75-80 per cent of pig services nationally, the boar is still a very important animal on most farms and is used extensively to provide cover for sows both naturally and artificially inseminated on the farm.

ACMC
Lidia Gonzalez, ACMC veterinary surgeon with one of the assured boars at the company's Beeford headquarters

Most boars can sire 6,000 piglets in a year using on-farm AI. This means they must not only be of superior quality and fertile but they must also exhibit a high libido.

To address these issues, pig breeding company ACMC has introduced a new boar quality assurance test. When sexually mature, at around six months old, young boars are ‘jump-tested’ for semen collection four times and are given a libido score from 1 to 4, with 1 being a “Timid“ score and 4 being an "Excellent Worker". When the boars are working wella a semen sample is then examined in the company’s laboratory and scored for sperm viability using the BPEX standards.

Once these standards are met, a boar is tagged to demonstrate that this procedure has been carried out and the animal is issued with a "Boar Quality Test Certificate".

The quality tag also denotes that the boar has been individually performance tested and selected according to ACMC’s sire-line selection index. This gives a 40 per cent weighting to daily liveweight gain, 20 per cent to feed conversion, 20 per cent to backfat and 20 per cent to muscle depth.

"With the cost of a missed service amounting to around 32.50 per day, libido and fertility are vitally important to pig farmers who want their sows in pig without unnecessary delay. Our Boar Quality Test Certificate assures our customers that our boars have been examined for these traits and have also been tested for the commercial traits needed in their progeny," commented Matthew Curtis, ACMC’s managing director.