African Farming went to find out what our farmers are busy with during this month.
PIGS – Sibusiso Zwane, Pretoria, Gauteng
We farm the Landrace, Large White and Duroc breeds from PIC South Africa. We’re preparing our pigs for breeding, which starts now. We use artificial insemination (AI), which I perform myself.
I have a national diploma in animal science and did an advanced course in pig AI at the Tshwane University of Technology, plus I’m a registered inseminator with the Department of Agriculture.
After sanitising my laboratory equipment, we start to collect boar semen in the tapping room. Once the boar mounts the dummy sow, we start collecting semen – this takes about 15 minutes. We then check the semen quality under a microscope.
Sows are taken from the weaning pens and kept in separate pens for about four days until they come on heat. During this time they switch from lactating feed to dry feed.
I also give them Farrowsure, a vaccine that helps ensure reproductive success. We inseminate once the heat signs are obvious. We don’t have an ultrasound scanner to check for pregnancy on the farm, but we check the sows after 21 days.
If a sow has not conceived, we inseminate again the next time she shows signs of heat. After insemination, sows continue with dry feed for a week prior to farrowing, after which we feed lactating rations until weaning