Effect of Season and Parity on Reproduction Performance of Iberian Sows Bred with Duroc Semen

Animals (Basel). 2021 Nov 16;11(11):3275. doi: 10.3390/ani11113275.


The Iberian pig is an autochthonous breed from the Iberian Peninsula highly valued for its meat. The sows are often bred as Iberian × Duroc crossings for increased efficiency. Since sow parity and season affect the reproductive performance, we evaluated two-year records from a commercial farrow-to-finish farm (live, stillborn, and mummified piglets after artificial insemination, AI). A total of 1293 Iberian sows were inseminated with semen from 57 boars (3024 AI). The effects of parity (gilts, 1, 2-4, 5-10, and >10 farrowings) and season were analyzed by linear mixed-effects models (LME). The data were fitted to cosinor models to investigate seasonal effects within parity groups. The effects of maximum daily temperature (MDT) and day length change (DLC) during spermatogenesis, pre-AI, and post-AI periods were analyzed with LME. The 2-4 group was the optimal one for parity. A seasonal effect was evident between spring-summer (lower fertility/prolificacy) and autumn-winter (higher). Cosinor showed that the seasonal drop in reproductive performance occurs earlier in Iberian sows than in other breeds, more evident in gilts. MDT negatively affected performance in all periods and DLC in spermatogenesis and pre-AI. These results are relevant for the improvement of Iberian sows' intensive farming.

Keywords: Duroc boar; Iberian; artificial insemination; cosinor; fertility; gilt; parity; prolificacy; seasonality; sow.