Boar Testing & Semen Evaluation
Ensuring that boars are fertile is essential to meet production targets. Fertility in boars can be affected by a of causes including age, nutrition, disease, injury, genetics, workload and seasonal factors.
Chris Richards and Associates believe that boars are the neglected part of most piggeries and have invested heavily in a laboratory to test and evaluate boar fertility and semen quality.
Semen Evaluation Service
Our Semen Evaluation Laboratory is utilised by a number of boar studs to evaluate the quality of semen from boars collected for artificial insemination purposes. This service has now been extended to commercial boars, using a collection kit that enables collection and preservation of boar semen from the vagina of sows.
Boars are often observed to have poor fertility when reproductive parameters increase such as an increase in returns or low litter size. By the time these problems are detected a considerable amount of time & money has gone into the boar and these sows. The service offered by Chris Richards & Associates enables boar semen to be evaluated at regular intervals to ensure that from a microscopic level the boar fertility is sound. This is a valuable resource to reduce the cost of production and manage risk for both AI studs and the commercial farmer.
Semen from commercial herd boars can be collected using the “Semen Retrieval Kit”. The kit, which can be used on both sows and gilts can be purchased from Chris Richards and Associates which includes instructions and instruments to retrieve & extend the semen. This process collects the semen in the cervix and vagina, so there is no risk in affecting the success of the mating.
The samples are examined using phase contrast microscopy and other analytical equipment to assess motility, morphology, and bacterial content.
Lack of motility or irregular swimming patterns can be related to genetic defects of tails, improper collection, handling or storage of the semen or extended periods of time between matings or collections.
Morphology of sperm cells reflects how well the testes, duct systems within the testes, and the epididymis are functioning. For boar studs, it also indicates whether the environmental conditions during semen collection, transport, storage and handling are favourable. Abnormalities such as cytoplasmic droplets, coiled, double and filiform tails give an indication of the maturity of sperm cells, temperature stress, pH changes, environmental or disease and injury effects on the boar, or in boar studs due to improper collection, handling and storage of the sample. There are a number of other abnormalities such as compromised acrosome integrity and other sperm head defects that will prevent the sperm from fertilising the egg.
Semen samples are also examined and cultured for bacterial contamination, which may cause the death of sperm and can potentially cause endometritis or other fertility problems in the receiving sow.