Organization and optimization of boar collection
A production day in you’re A.I. center will always be influenced by the collection rate of your boars. Indeed, it is the number of ejaculates that arrive on time in the laboratory that will guarantee the best efficiency in the production of doses. So to ensure good productivity, it is essential to make sure of the right organization at the time of the collection in the livestock housing structure.
This article covers some tips on how you can optimize the organization of boar semen collection days.
Accompanying the boars to the collection pen
Multi-genetic boar pen
In the case of a boar pen where various genetics are mixed, you might think that grouping a genetic family in the same area could simplify management. We could then easily split the boar pen by genetic family. From an organizational point of view, this is indeed an advantage. But this advantage turns out to be a potential problem for efficient boar collection. Indeed, if there is strong demand for a family of genetics during a production day, we risk creating “traffic jams” in this sector of the boar pens. Many doors will be open at the same time and this will make it more difficult to move the boars. This makes it much easier to mix genetics evenly throughout your boar pens!
For optimization and efficiency, try to have staff dedicated to a particular task when collecting semen from boars. Indeed, one person is in charge of bringing back the boars to the waiting pens (for more information about these waiting pens, please read our article on the design of your building for optimizing your collections), when another person will be located in the collection pit to collect from the boars. Thus, the collector should always have a boar to collect. The second person must then always make sure that a boar is in a waiting pen to be ready for collection. It is important that these roles remain the same during the day, mainly for hygiene, reasons but also for improved work ergonomics. However, as the days pass, it is recommended that the roles be reversed to allow for flexibility in the organization should colleagues be absent.
A third person will be needed for intense production days. They will then assist in moving the boars, and also collect boars, if necessary. As an example, with a semi-automatic system like SafeMate, 3 employees are able to collect an average of 25 boars per hour during an optimal organization.
We alternate between good and bad boars
It is important not to send all boars that quickly mount the dummy at the same time. It is essential to know your livestock well to distribute the collection of the slowest and fastest boars effectively. Indeed, if all the boars that are take more time to collect arrive at the same time, the collection area and therefore the production rate may be impacted. The person who brings the boars to the collection is the conductor for the whole production system: they must therefore know the animals well to pace the boar collection as well as possible.
When a boar jumps onto the dummy, you should try to be as reactive as possible and begin collecting so that you do not risk the boar dismounting. As in the picture, make sure you always have vaginas with the ready-to-use liner available, even before the boar enters the pen. This way, as soon as the boar is on the dummy, you can connect it rapidly. The easy-to-close cooler and lid ensure great hygiene. However, it is important to remember to clean and disinfect the box regularly after collection.
You can also provide a cart with wheels that can be moved easily within the pit with all the equipment needed to collect from the boar: gloves, collection thermos, vagina, liner and cone with filter.
The essentials at your disposal
In any collection system, it is always essential to have paper towels available as well as access to a water point. The paper towel is simply used to clean the collection bag before sending it to the laboratory for dilution. The water point is also mandatory for ensuring that hygiene is maintained but also a certain comfort for the technician who collects from a boar.
Also, as you can see with the arrow on this picture, a small shelf just in front of the collection box provides immediate access to essential consumables for the collection. Always with efficiency in mind…
In the best case, if the boar is chipped and identified with an RFID chip, this enables perfect traceability of the ejaculate from collection to packaging. But it is a rather expensive system. The labeling system also works very well in setting up a good rigorous working method. The laboratory sends the boars to be collected to the collectors, and after the collection of a boar, the collector only has to stick the label on the ejaculate to guarantee traceability. It is also important that the collector write their name on the label for liability purposes. Thus, they commit themselves and acknowledge that they were responsible for collecting this ejaculate and are therefore responsible for certain quality aspects.
Transmit the ejaculate as quickly as possible
It is important that once the sample is taken, the ejaculate is sent to the laboratory as soon as possible for dilution. The ejaculate comes out of the boar at 35 degrees Celsius, so it must not be cooled down and therefore not be subject to thermal shock when the diluent is added. Also, the bacterial growth doubles every 20 minutes: it is exponential! It is important that the ejaculate is diluted within 15 minutes of the end of the collection. This rapid dilution also allows the seed to be buffered and thus guarantees its preservation over time.
So don’t forget the importance of good organization in your boar pens. A methodology must be set up to optimize the efficiency of your teams and thus maintain a sufficient production rate for your employees in your laboratory. A closed system like SafeMate limits the risk of contamination and also increases the number of boars collected per hour. Please contact us for more information.