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Summer Infertility - Part 1 of 4 - How to prepare for it

by 5m Editor
20 August 2007, at 12:00am

By PIC. As summer approaches it is important to start to think about alleviating the problem of summer infertility in your herd.

Falling daylight lengths and reduced performance through heat stress can contribute to increased returns to service during the summer months and overall poor breeding performance.

Summer infertility is a well known problem which occurs every year and can cause huge economic losses.

Did you know from 2003-2005 summer infertility cost the industry 3p/kg each year. Colin Woodridge, Meadow Quality

So we know it happens but how can we prepare for it ?

Here are six main points to help you prepare for summer:

Review herd performance
Calculate the impact of last years summer infertility e.g lower conception rates and then set a target number of matings over the summer period to overcome potential shortfalls.

Check herd parity profile
Aiming for 90-95% of the herd to be parity 6 or below is an ideal target. But be aware to achieve your target number of matings over the summer you may need to use older sows in the herd if there aren't enough gilts available.

Look at your gilt pool
Review your target matings and conception rates from last year, and check where it fits with the number of gilts you have coming through the system. Often units increase the number of gilts served by 10-15% between May-Sept.

Think boars
If your chaser boars are not very productive in the hot temperatures, would AI be a better option?

AI Strategy
Look ahead at the amount of semen you will require over the coming months and ensure you have sufficient doses for your extra services. Consider serving earlier in the day when it's not as hot and serve at the optimum service time. Review your 'AI Critical Factors for Success' booklet for successful AI techniques.

Semen storage
Avoid storing semen in direct sunlight. Ensure your temperature controlled cabinet/portable unit is kept clean and monitor the temperature by placing a min max thermometer in the base, 16-18oC is ideal. Seek advice from your supplier if it's not running at this temperature.

Summer Infertility Series

Summer Infertility - Part 1

Summer Infertility - Part 2

Summer Infertility - Part 3

Summer Infertility - Part 4

July 2007