Age-related changes in quality and fertility of porcine semen
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of boar age on quality traits and fertility of liquid-stored semen. Boars were allocated into 3 age groups: 7-10 months (young), 18-33 months (mature), 51-61 months (old). Ejaculates of > 200x10(6) sperm/ml and 85% total motile sperm were extended to 30x10(6) sperm/ml, stored at 17-18 °C and used within 12-24 h for artificial insemination (AI) of 2062 multiparous sows. After 24 h of storage, aliquots of diluted semen were assessed for sperm progressive motility (SPM), incidence of sperm chromatin instability (SCI), proportion of live morphologically normal sperm (LMNS) and head morphometry of LMNS. The results showed that young boars had higher percentages of SCI and lower proportions of LMNS than those of the mature (p < 0.05) and old (p < 0.001) boars, respectively. Sperm head dimensions of young and old boars were greater (p < 0.03-0.001) than those of mature boars. The farrowing rate of young boars (65%) was significantly lower (p < 0.001; χ2= 30-61) than those of the mature (87.2%) and old (84.7%) boars. The relationship between sperm head dimensions and boar fertility was non-significant. In conclusion, boar age is an important physiological factor contributing to the success of swine AI.