Meryl with Pigs

AHDB Pork’s team works with pig producers and pork processors providing tools and information to help their businesses. At the same time, it works with the pork supply chain to promote pork to consumers and develop new export markets. AHDB Pork’s mission is to help English pig production and processing businesses become more competitive and profitable.

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Stressful spring for boars

The hot, dry spring has highlighted the issue of heat stress in pigs which can cause fertility problems in boars as well as sows.

To help pig producers avoid this problem, we have published our latest 2TS Action for Productivity fact sheet on preventing and managing heat stress in boars.

The main concern currently is how heat stress can affect working boars’ fertility rates and render them less fertile for a period as long as eight weeks. If body temperature is raised by as little as 2°C it can interfere with sperm production and lead to a reduced number of sperm.

Air temperatures above 23°C can cause heat stress so the boar searches for ways to prevent over-heating – and temperatures have already reached 27°C this spring. Measures producers can take reduce the effects of hot weather include:

- Shade and wallows – do the same for the boar as the sow
- Space – allow room for the boars to lie prone and isolate
- Little bedding – provide easier access to cool flooring/dirt etc
- Plenty of water – the minimum requirement for a boar daily is 5-8 litres
- Do not encourage matings in such heats
- Additional air movement – use fans
- Feed in early mornings or evenings when cool

If you suspect that your DIY AI boars have been heat stressed, then be extra vigilant and monitor their semen quality over an eight-week period. If chaser boars have been affected by heat then consider using AI as insurance. There's more advice in 2TS Action for Productivity no.39: Heat stress in boars. Call 02476 478792 to request a hard copy.

By AHDBPork at 14 Jun 2011, 15:39 PM


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