The prospects of the usage of cryogenically preserved semen

Almost twenty years ago most pig producers bought live boars for mating with sows. With the branch development that way paled into insignificance and in in terms of modern pig production artificial insemination is not a surprise to anyone. But pig producers are very cautious to cryogenically preserved semen usage. A group of Ukrainian pig producers visited a company Swine Genetics International in terms of training program Cochran Fellowship Program (USA). The company was the pioneer of cryogenically preserved semen technology and nowadays is the leading exporter of it to all parts of the world.

In the days when artificial insemination was only tested in the laboratories (the middle of 19th century) the scientist were already studying the possibility of semen freezing as an option of its long lasting and transportation. The idea of semen freezing became more popular in 60th −70th of the XX century. In that times the semen was dropped on icy pellets after that it changed into granules (such method is sometimes used in native animal husbandry). Later the scientists from USA, Germany and Switzerland developed a technology of semen packing and freezing in plastic straws. The postgraduate from Iowa State University under the support of Swine Genetics International (SGI) writing her thesis work developed a method of computer freezing in the end of 80th. It suffered some changes since that time but is successfully used nowadays.

Despite its scarce use in commercial artificial insemination programs (used only in 1% of all inseminated sows) nowadays no one questions the sanitary, economic, and productive advantages of cryogenically preserved semen with respect to fresh or refrigerated semen. Among them is a possibility to store cryogenically preserved semen as long as one wants (the first SGI batch bear a date of 1981), which gives a lot of possibilities for scientific researches, breeding, selection and preservation of the best pig lines. The producers may carry out experiments with 2, 3 or even 4 breeds. Besides you don’t buy a pig in a poke but have a possibility to choose a boar the semen of which you want to order.

Nowadays there are semen banks all over the world which give access to the pig producers to checked genetics which stimulates the development of international trade. Such possibility is very important under current conditions as different difficulties of live animal importation occur very often; the changeable epizootic situation in the world may provoke additional restrictions. Besides it is always very risky to work with live animals.

Speaking about sanitary hygienic aspects of cryogenically preserved semen couple of points can be underlined: for the first scientists state that not a single accident of diseases transmission was registered, for the second the producers avoid risks of diseases entering the pig farm from the outside; for the third the renewal of the heard takes place inside the farm thus animals are not subjected to any stresses because of transportation. Besides the purchase of live boars has its hidden danger: according to the statistic date of technologic culling to receive one boar three must be bought.

Import of cryogenically preserved semen in Ukraine can be called an alternative to breeding pigs import without exaggeration. The producers are not able to buy pigs from the USA which is one of leaders of world pig production because of incoordination of veterinary certificates. Until recently the American genetic could only be dreamed of. But the representatives of one Ukrainian enterprise brought a batch of cryogenically preserved semen of elite boars of SGI in 2010. They are satisfied with the results and share their experience with their colleagues.

1. What are the economic advantages of cryogenically preserved semen?

2. How and for what diseases is the breeding boar tested during quarantine?

3. What is the specialness of computer program Swine Testing and Genetic Evaluation System?

4. What is the technology of semen collection, its freezing and preparation?

5. What are the peculiarities of cryogenically preserved semen usage?

You can read more in the magazine publication «Profitable Pig Production», № 3 (9), 2012

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