, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 679-686
Date: 12 Oct 2012

Artificial insemination of pigs reared under smallholder production system in northeastern India: success rate, genetic improvement, and monetary benefit

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Abstract

The study investigated the success rate, genetic improvement, and monetary benefit of artificial insemination (AI) technology in smallholder backyard pig production system. The pig production system was studied, and performance of nondescript and crossbred pigs under the traditional system was evaluated. Litter size and growth rate of crossbred pig was significantly (P < 0.05) higher compared to the nondescript pigs. Non-availability of superior germplasm to produce crossbred pigs and high mating cost were the major constraints observed in the study in addition to indiscriminate mating and non-availability of breeding boar. For genetic improvement of nondescript local pigs and to produce crossbred pigs, AI delivery mechanism was developed in participatory mode including farmers, village leaders, and key persons in 36 villages. The information system was designed in such a way that AI was carried out at the doorstep of the farmer upon request. A total of 167 estrus sow/gilts were artificially inseminated, and a farrowing rate of 78.44 % was obtained with a mean litter size of 7.86 ± 0.65 following AI, which did not differ significantly from natural service. However, the growth rate of crossbred piglets obtained through AI was significantly higher than the growth rate of piglets born out of natural service. The tribal farmers were benefited by AI in several ways: (1) timely availability of superior germplasm to produce crossbred piglets; (2) saved the mating cost of INR 1,000–1,200 and transport of cost (INR 300–400) of female to the boar premises and (3) controlled mating to prevent inbreeding. The present study clearly demonstrates the feasibility and potential benefit of AI technique to smallholder backyard pig production system in tribal rural areas. In addition to genetic improvement of nondescript local pigs, this technology can help in overcoming breeding constraints in smallholder backyard pig production for increasing productivity.