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Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals

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Seasonal infertility in pigs - What have we achieved and where are we up to?

Ray King

Abstract

The most common manifestations of seasonal infertility are delayed puberty, prolonged weaning to oestrus intervals and a reduced farrowing rate brought about by increased returns to oestrus, including a proportionally higher incidence of irregular returns to oestrus. Over the past 40 years, there has been considerable investment in Australian pig research that has generated extensive knowledge about the physiological mechanisms behind seasonal infertility. While some of the physiological mechanisms allowing the expression of seasonal infertility still remain unclear, a number of possible intervention strategies have been developed and investigated to ameliorate the effects of seasonal infertility in commercial production. For commercial pork producers there is considerable information available to them now that are based on both research and practical experience which they can use to identify strategies for their farm to minimise the impact of seasonal infertility on their farm. The industry still provides some support to R&D efforts to address seasonal infertility, although in the future, it may be more targeted to identifying interventions to ameliorate the impact of seasonal infertility in affected herds, rather than undertaking intensive studies into the possible mechanisms and reasons behind this very complex syndrome.

AN17260  Accepted 18 July 2017

© CSIRO 2017