BATTLING THE BUG     |     strategies for keeping bacteria contamination at bay

Bacterial contamination is a serious and very real deterrent to profitable semen production and swine reproduction.
It results in reduced fertility, lower conception rates, and shorter shelf life of semen doses. Hygienic semen collection a
nd processing techniques and stringent laboratory procedures are the first and primary lines of defense in successfully
managing contamination.
Controlling bacterial growth in extended semen with antibiotics should be considered a secondary method of control.
Bacterial contamination in boar semen is routinely observed when semen is collected by the gloved hand technique.
Studies show that 62.5% of raw ejaculates and 79% of extended semen doses contain bacterial contamination.
In one 10-year study, bacterial counts per milliliter (ml) of freshly collected boar semen normally ranged between
5,500 to 48,000 colony forming units (CFUs) and averaged 27,000 CFUs. Therefore, when low conception rates and
reproductive problems occur with artificial insemination (AI), bacterial contamination of semen is an important cause
to consider.