Watch Out For Autumn Infertility

UK - Although the nights are only just starting to draw in, pig producers should not delay in taking steps to guard against autumn infertility. This syndrome can result in a drop in conception rates of up to 20 per cent and a reduction of one pig per litter, resulting in serious economic losses, warns Malcolm Stead, production director of pig-breeding company, ACMC Ltd.
calendar icon 18 July 2006
clock icon 2 minute read

Now's the time to increase lighting levels in the service area to ward off autumn infertility, says Malcolm Stead, ACMC production director.
To combat its effects he advises increasing lighting levels in the service areas by switching to high lux fluorescent tubes on timers to give illumination for 16 hours a day. Painting the walls and ceiling white will also increase reflectivity.

Body condition of sows should be checked. If they are marginal then feed levels should be increased.

Since boar sperm counts can fall at this time of year, producers who are using their own sires for AI should also check the quality of the semen or buy from a reliable AI stud that monitors sperm quality daily.

Malcolm Stead also advises increasing the size of gilt pools, so enough animals can be served to fill in the gaps of the farrowing programme if autumn infertility hits. This also provides an excellent opportunity to cull older sows and take advantage of the current high cull sow prices.

"The problem with autumn infertility is that you can't predict how bad it will be until it strikes. The effects of smaller litters are not seen until sows farrow in December and January, while the economic knock-on is not apparent until the following May and June when fewer pigs are available to send to slaughter," he said.
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