Choosing a type of insemination is important for farm profitability. The options a farmer has include natural and artificial insemination.
This requires keeping boar(s) on the farm. For any given sow, a boar is active only between two and two-and-a-half times annually.
During this period, the boar will consume food, space, and encroach on farm labour, since workers have to look after it, security and health management for 366 days.
Also, boars are limited in the number of insemination that can be made in a week, to about three times.
Therefore, when many pigs are on heat, the farmer has to lose productive time and serve at such a time when the boar has not been at work.
Or, the farmer has to keep many boars, if they also have many sows. Some experts advise a ratio of one boar to 10 sows. I do not agree with this because, if these gilts or sows are of the same age, there is a chance of going on heat at about the same time.
Also, even when gilts bought are of spaced age, they will at a given time be ready for insemination at almost the same time.
In situations where the libido of the boar is low or has some health difficulties, the farmer will have to lose, by again jumping the conceptive time. Due to the higher costs of maintaining a boar, some producers choose to hire boars from other farmers or use village boars.
This has fuelled the transmission of reproductive diseases, such as Parvovirosis and African Swine Fever, which has the ability to wipe out an entire farm.
Therefore, natural insemination is a primitive choice for commercialised pig production and artificial insemination, is the best choice.
The practice enables the insemination of many sows at a go, with no difficulty, reduces disease transmission chances and gives a farmer the liberty to choose the favourite sire breed.
Depending on the size of the farm, one may choose to keep a boar to help during heat detection and natural synchronisation of gilts and sows.
The best paternal breeds are Duroc, Hampshire and a cross of Duroc and Pietrain.
These are selected due to their efficient muscling, carcass quality and early growing. Therefore, if Duroc (DD) is used, the pigs for slaughter will be a mixture of Landrace, Yorkshire and Duroc.
Do not reproduce pigs selected for slaughter because the offspring will be of reduced performance ability.