Raúl Gonzalez is Manager of Topigs Norsvin Global AIM Services. He and his team of specialists assists international clients in getting the best reproductive performance; focus on product quality, efficiency and the implementation of procedures.
Boar spermatozoa are characterized by a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids and a low concentration of cholesterol, which makes them more sensitive to damage by temperature changes and oxidative stress. Thus, handling and management of boar semen are crucial in AI. This aspect is not only essential at the AI stud; transporting, storing, and handling semen correctly at the sow farm will help to maximize sperm shelf life and improve reproductive performance.
Raúl’s tips for transport and storage of semen doses:
- During transport, not only temperature control is important. Vibration should also be minimized as it may have an impact on semen quality by increasing the oxidative stress and the pH of the medium.
- Use the storage units properly. Doses should not be crowded or stacked, and the storage unit should have sufficient capacity to allow air to circulate. The fan should never be obstructed. Wire racks are very helpful.
- Consider the delivery of semen as a Critical Point. Semen should be delivered directly into a temperature-controlled storage unit or area. Good communication between farm-AI Stud and transport company is essential to avoid large temperature fluctuations at delivery.
- Get ahead of problems. At the farm, the storage unit should not be exposed to extreme temperatures, large amounts of ammonia, humidity or dust. Connect the unit to a surge protector to prevent the damaging effects of a power outage and an alarm system to be aware when the temperature is not correct.
- Be organized. Ensure all batches of semen are organized logically in the storage unit and are clearly identifiable. Restrict the number of doses of semen taken out of the temperature-controlled cabinet at any one time to reduce the risk of unnecessary and prolonged exposure of semen to temperature fluctuations.