Reproductive performance of fixed-time artificial insemination in swine and factors for the technology success
ABSTRACT: Fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI) is a reproductive technology that aids in obtaining an appropriate time to perform single artificial insemination (AI), thus reducing the number of inseminations per sow bred. FTAI protocols can either be based on estrus detection or day of weaning, aiming to synchronize ovulation using ovulation inducers. The protocols involving estrus detection usually employ porcine luteinizing hormone (pLH) as an inducer and, in general, satisfactory reproductive performance is observed. For protocols based on weaning day, the main hormone used is analog of gonadotropin-releasing hormone such as triptorelin and buserelin. Regardless of the protocol, the number of piglets born is usually not affected by FTAI. However, a possible compromise in the farrowing rate should be considered. The FTAI in gilts requires progestogen treatment for estrus synchronization, increasing the labor requirement and cost of protocol. Some of the benefits of FTAI are a reduced number of semen doses required, advantage of planning the breeding time and; consequently, optimizing labor involved. However, the limitations include a slight reduction in the fertility index due to the compromised farrowing rate in some cases, costs incurred by following the protocol, and difficulty in measuring all the conceptual benefits under commercial conditions. The aim of this review is to approach the reproductive performance of the current protocols of FTAI, considering the benefits and limitations of this technology in swine production.