By Bruce Cochrane
The technical services and business development director with Minitube of America says developments in artificial insemination since the early 1990s have dramatically improved success rates when using AI in pork production.
In the early 1990s artificial insemination was used in about 10 percent of swine operations but since the mid 1990s it's been used in the majority of operations in both Canada and the U.S.
Phil Burke, the technical services and business development director with Minitube of America, says better semen collection techniques, better quality control and better temperature control of semen in storage have extended shelf life allowing higher success rates while using less product and those numbers are continually improving.
Phil Burke-Minitube of America:
In the near future using even less cells.
We've come down from the five or six billion cells to somewhere around about half that number of cells in the last ten to 15 years.
Now we've got many producers going down to one or 1.2 billion cells per dose.
We are now doing some work on going down to something approaching one billion or even as low as half a billion cells so that old boar of two years ago, we can now leverage that boar six times further in two years.
Operating in the 85 to 88 percent farrowing rate is classed as being average these days but if you're in the 90 to 95 percent level you'll be performing at world class levels and that's very attainable.
I've got some farms even hit the golden 100 percent farrowing rate some weeks.
The days of having the low numbers have gone and having 14, 15, 16 pigs born per litter is quite common these days and it's getting better and more predictable all the time.
Burke notes in the 1980s and 1990s one boar for every 20 females was common where as today we're almost one boar for every 250 females and that one boar is superior.
He says it grows quicker, it converts grain quicker and requires fewer days to market and he expects further improvements at a faster pace over the next five to ten years.