Effect of numbers of sperm and timing of a single, post-cervical insemination on the fertility of weaned sows treated with OvuGel®

R. V. Knox, K. C. Esparza-Harris, M. E. Johnston, S. K. Webel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Variability in estrus and ovulation requires multiple inseminations during estrus to ensure one AI occurs close to ovulation. Induction of ovulation after weaning improves synchrony of ovulation and allows for fixed time AI. However, the interaction between number of sperm in the AI dose and the timing of insemination has not been fully investigated. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of sperm numbers used in a single post-cervical insemination (PCAI) and the timing of insemination following induced ovulation in weaned sows. The experiment was performed using sows (n = 641) allotted by parity (1–6) and lactation length (19.5 d) to receive a single PCAI using 1.5 or 2.5 billion motile sperm at either 22, 26, or 30 h following administration of a GnRH agonist, triptorelin acetate (OvuGel®) at 96 h post-weaning. Sows received boar contact once daily 3–6 d following weaning. A sub-population of the sows (n = 499) were assessed for follicle size and ovulation utilizing ultrasound at 8 h intervals. There was no interaction of number of sperm and timing of insemination for any response measure (P > 0.10). Wean to estrus interval (4.8 d), duration of estrus (1.9 d), and expression of estrus (88.0%), were not different among treatments (P > 0.10). Of sows scanned by ultrasound at the time of OvuGel®, 88.2% had large follicles, 10.9% had small, medium or cystic sized follicles, and 0.9% had corpora lutea. The proportion of sows that ovulated averaged 94%, and differed by time of AI (P ≤ 0.05) but not by number of sperm. Pregnancy rate and farrowing rate tended to be affected by dose (P ≤ 0.10), while time of insemination affected pregnancy rate and tended to influence farrowing rate (P ≤ 0.10). Farrowing rate was greater (P < 0.0001) with use of 2.5 than 1.5 billion sperm and insemination at 22 and 26 h compared to 30 h after OvuGel® (P ≤ 0.10). Farrowing rate was also affected by parity, estrus expression, ovulation and ovarian abnormalities (P < 0.05). Of the 12% of weaned sows that did not exhibit estrus, approximately 50% farrowed a litter. Total born and born alive were affected by dose (P < 0.05) but not time of insemination with both measures increased with 2.5 compared to 1.5 billion sperm (P < 0.05). The results of this study indicate that induction of ovulation in weaned sows resulted in 88% of sows ovulating within a 24 h period. Fertility was improved with a single, fixed time AI using 2.5 compared to 1.5 billion motile sperm and insemination at 22–26 h after OvuGel® compared to 30 h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • AI
  • OvuGel
  • Ovulation
  • Sow
  • Sperm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


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